The pair behind a Facebook support group for homeless people in Leeds has received the inaugural Yorkshire Day award.
David Hedley and Marie Butler set up the Homeless Leeds Support Group Yorkshire in the winter of 2015 after David posted about a homeless man he had seen on his way to work.
They held their first soup kitchen outside Leeds Town Hall on Christmas Day 2015, and have since gone on to gain support from dozens of volunteers and a number of businesses, including Morrisons and Greggs. The group – which provides regular soup kitchens, clothing and sleeping bags to the city’s homeless – has been so successful it has now expanded to York, Bradford, Doncaster, Rotherham and Wakefield.
Marie, 50, and David, 51, were selected as the first winners of the Yorkshire Day Yorkshire Hero Award by a panel chaired by Welcome to Yorkshire’s Gary Verity.
Marie said: “We are absolutely honoured to win this award – it is totally unexpected and a thrill to be chosen over many other deserving causes as Yorkshire Heroes for 2017.”
The Yorkshire Hero competition has been organised by tourism website Yorkshire’s Best Adventures and Yorkshire Dales tour company Yorkshire Trike Tours to help celebrate Yorkshire Day.
As part of the win, Marie and David were whisked away on the back of a Yorkshire Trike Tours motorised Boom Trike for a luxury tour of the Yorkshire Dales following the same route as Tour de France riders took on day one of 2014’s Grand Depart.
They were nominated for the award by group volunteer Hughie Subham. He said: “What the pair of them do is truly amazing. Everything is purely voluntary and they receive no official funding. I am so pleased that they were chosen as Yorkshire Heroes as they deserve recognition for all their hard work in helping people less fortunate than them.”