Garforth landlady aiming to raise £10,000 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance with spooky and festive events

A popular Leeds landlady is hoping to raise £10,000 for charity by hosting a series of spectacular events.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 11:45 am
Jo Heywood is the landlady of the Gaping Goose pub in Garforth. The pub is hosting Halloween and Christmas parties to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Photo: Gary Longbottom

Jo Heywood, 36, of the Gaping Goose in Garforth, will be putting on a number of Halloween and festive-themed parties in order to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA).

Last year, as the pub was forced to close due to the pandemic, Jo and volunteers from the area organised a drive-by Santa and elves experience.

The event, which was held in the pub's car park, was a huge success with families in the community, and sparked the idea of raising more money for the YAA.

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Jo Heywood by the totalizer showing how much has been raised towards the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Photo: Gary Longbottom

Jo, who lives in Kippax, said: "My dad, Neil, was one of the first ever crew members on the Yorkshire Air Ambulance so its a special charity to our family.

"My dad thinks the fundraising is amazing. He is a proud dad and he is always wanting to know what's happening next. What's the next goal?

"We've got a target board [in the pub] and people are always saying its brilliant and we'll put into it."

So far she has managed to raise £6,424.05 thanks to donations - but hopes to hit £10,000 by the start of 2022.

Jo added: "Yorkshire Air Ambulance is a charity that we all hope we will never use but thank god it is there for us when we do need it."

The YAA is an independent charity that is entirely public-funded.

It costs £12,000 a day to keep both of the helicopters maintained and in the air.

A percentage of the Gaping Goose's event ticket sales, and raffles held on free events, will go to the charity, helping towards its life-saving work.

But Jo hopes that as well as raising money for the worthwhile charity, the festitivites will also help to put a smile on people's faces.

She said: "It's about spreading the smiles. That's why we started off last Christmas.

"It wasn't for charity to start off with, we just wanted to do it to make people smile after the 18 months that we had but people kept saying, please let us donate, so that's why we chose the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

"I still go to places now and people go 'oh your the landlady from the Gaping Goose, it was amazing what you did at Christmas'. My goal was to create a memory for the kids and it worked.

"They still talk to us to this day about the Santa Drive-thru and its nice to hear that just doing something so simple had a huge effect on people's lives."

She added: "We want to spread the word of what's coming up.

"There's going to be children's and adults Halloween parties and then lots of Christmas events in December.

"We've got to get positives out of a year which has been massive negative. People have lost loved ones which is horrendous but you've got to look at the positives.

"Like my Nana said: 'You can't see the stars without the dark'.

"Making people smile and raising money for the YAA makes me want to get up and go to work each day, just to see what else we can do."

Full details of the events

Saturday October 30

Children's Halloween party 1-4pm. A percentage of the ticket sales will go towards YAA.

Adults Halloween Party 6pm-close.

Open night no tickets needed.

Raffle going on to raise money for YAA.

Saturday December 4

Christmas Party for everyone. 6pm - close.

Open night no tickets needed.

Raffle going on to raise money for YAA.

Monday December 6 to Friday December 10

Santa's Grotto. 2.30pm to 5pm.

No tickets needed however a charge of £3.00 per child.

Children will receive presents.

A percentage of the ticket sales will go towards YAA.

Saturday December 11

Christmas under the Stars.

This is a day with a Christmas Market.

Choirs and Brass bands playing all day Christmas music.

YAA will also be bringing their PROMO van so that children/adults can see what its all about.

Raffle going on to raise money for YAA.

Monday December 13 to Friday December 17

Santa's Grotto. 2:30pm to 5pm.

No tickets needed however a charge of £3.00 per child.

Children will receive presents.

A percentage of the ticket sales will go towards YAA.