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YEP Half and Half Appeal: Magnificent generosity of readers

Hilda Mitchell raised thousands of pounds.

Hilda Mitchell raised thousands of pounds.

As the YEP launches its bid to top £3m for Leeds’ two hospices through the ‘Half and Half Appeal: Project £3m’, today Joanna Wardill looks at some of the long-term and prolific donors.

Since the Half and Half Appeal launched in 1982, fundraisers across the region have been doing their bit to support St Gemma’s and Wheatfields Hospices.

Some daredevils have raised cash through weird and wonderful activities such as leaping out of planes, while others have collected donations in a bucket to boost the worthy causes.

A large majority also simply quietly donate on poignant anniversaries or occasions in memory of their loved ones.

But no matter how large or small donations are, pennies have turned into pounds as the appeal total currently stands at over £2.8m.

As the YEP now launches Project £3m - to try and reach the impressive target in what is thought to be the longest running charity campaign in newspaper history - we take a look at some of the appeal’s donors from over the years.

Just last year, kind-hearted YEP readers raised a staggering £35,000. The flood of donations throughout the year meant each hospice received £17,835.

One of the most well-known Half and Half Appeal fundraisers is the annual Light Up A Life Service which itself raised £11,000 in 2013.

The moving event takes place every December, as a Christmas appeal where readers can donate money in memory of people they have lost.

The names of their loved ones are then printed on Saturday issues of the paper throughout December as well as displayed next to the Christmas tree at The Light shopping centre, where the Light Up A Life service takes place, with readings and carols. In 2012 - the Appeal’s 30th year - a massive total of £76,000.

The people of Leeds donated £58,000 throughout the year, which was further boosted by a generous donation of £18,000 from the late Doreen Hinchliffe, of Farsley.

At the time, a family friend of Mrs Hinchliffe, Jean Money, of Dewsbury, said: “She would have been delighted, it was something that she had done and knew could do some good for Wheatfields and St Gemma’s.”

Another prolific fundraiser for the YEP’s appeal was the late Hilda Mitchell, of Roundhay.

The great grandmother, a popular keep-fit instructor, died in 2012 at the age of 89, having raised thousands for the appeal.

Hilda ran weekly exercise classes for older ladies in north Leeds for more than 30 years, inspiring pupils with her motto “get moving and keep moving”.

And she supported the YEP’s Half and Half Appeal with a special fundraising class every year in aid of the cause.

More supporters of the appeal are the Tetley Pensioners, who have shown their long-term support for the appeal through a simple collection pot.

The generous members have raised thousands of pounds over the years through their weekly donations. Alan Bottomley, chairman of the Pensioners, said: “It’s something we’ve always done. We appreciate all that they do at the hospices. We have a collection every week and people put money in and then every so often we send it off.

“We must have been doing it for about 20 years, probably more. We’re all very happy to do it. It’s a good cause.”

Another long-time supporter of the Half and Half Appeal is Tracy Dick, director of business at St Gemma’s Hospice, who donates every year in memory of her parents Mary and Albert White.

She said: “My parents celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in December 2001 and then sadly died the following June - just 16 days apart.

“Everyone said how awful that must have been but in reality it seemed fitting that they weren’t without each other for very long.

“They were real ‘Leeds’ people who loved their home city. My dad could find his way to anywhere in Leeds, knew all the names of the streets and lots about the city’s history as he had been part of a local history group.

“My mum had worked in tailoring and later in a pub so had lots of friends and acquaintances.

“They both read the Yorkshire Evening Post every single evening from cover to cover. Maybe that’s why they loved Leeds so much and were so knowledgeable about it. After they died I started commemorating the anniversary of their deaths through the Half and Half Appeal. I work at St Gemma’s so I see what a brilliant job the hospices do every day. I know my parents would be pleased to see me supporting the work of both Leeds hospices via the newspaper they loved.

“Also I like the fact that their names appear in the YEP and everyone can see that I miss them as much today as I did when they died nearly 12 years ago.

“They were a great Mum and Dad and they deserve to be remembered publicly with love and affection.”

HOW TO DONATE

There are now new and easier ways to donate to the YEP’s Half and Half Appeal.

Donate by visiting: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/YEPHalfandHalfAppeal

Cheques payable to ‘The Yorkshire Evening Post Half & Half Appeal’ to The Editor’s Secretary, Yorkshire Evening Post, No 1 Leeds, 26 Whitehall Road, Leeds, LS12 1BE.

The envelope should be marked ‘Half and Half’.

Please keep all tributes fewer than 30 words. Tell us how you’re raising money for the appeal: yep.newsdesk@ypn.co.uk

Latest donations:

Middleton, Wayne (died Apr 22) A dear son sadly missed and loved every day. Love from Mam. £20.

Middleton, Wayne (died Apr 22) To a very special Daddy, sadly missed and love you loads. From Leanne xxx £5.

Current total: £2,873,314.54

 

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