Grand opening of 'Hug on a Tray Hub' in Otley as women continue incredible hospital fundraising
A group of women who have helped to cover the costs for hospital TVs in Leeds for more than four years have opened their first shop to enable their fundraising drive to prosper.
Lesley Noble, 72, set up 'Hug on a Tray' with friends from a social group.
The group - currently made up of Lesley, Jane Brown, Teresa Lyon, Edie Bates, Trish Howorth, Linda Bradley, Elaine Shuttleworth and Wendy Burnham - have raised more than £100,000 in five years.
The staggering total has helped to pay for the TV for the patients in J88 and J89 of the Bexley Wing for more than four years - lifting a huge burden from the patients on the wards.
Visiting families and friends to the wards are given free teabags, coffee, milk, biscuits, cups and a tray by the volunteers.
This has become a huge lifeline for thousands of hospital patients since 2016 - many of which don't even realise the backstory of the kindhearted group.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post earlier this year, Lesley said she had met some "wonderful people" through her charitable work.
The group - supported by Friends of the Leeds Centre for Leukaemia - now donate £26,400 on January 1 every year to cover the costs of the televisions in the two wards for the entire year.
Now, the group has secured their first premises in Otley on Manor Square - which had a grand opening on Monday morning (November 15).
The shop will house donated items and enable the group to continue their incredible fundraising efforts.
Town Crier Terry Ford helped open the shop.
Speaking at the opening, Lesley said it was "unbelievable" that the group had secured the shop - helped by a donation.
She said she never thought the group would get to this point when she offered a free cup of tea six years ago.
"Everything has been donated", Lesley told the YEP.
"We had a wonderful donation which has made this possible.
"They have given us the money to put this together.
"This is for all the patients who have lived and died and the families who loved them and still love them.
"This is a tribute to all of them.
"The patients will get every penny."
Lesley said it was a "privilege and a pleasure" to open the shop and she "can't believe what has happened".
The usual opening times for the shop will be Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10am until 3.30pm.
To learn more about the charity, visit: https://www.hugonatray.org/
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