Heartbreak as Leeds community stalwart who 'gave up her spare room for struggling families' passes away

Tributes have been paid to a Leeds community hero who gave up her Christmases and even her home to help some of the city's most vulnerable residents.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 11:45 am
Harehills resident Anne White, who was a stalwart volunteer for local community centre CATCH. Pictures kindly provided by CATCH.

Anne White - who was awarded High Sheriff in April this year- passed away on Tuesday after several months battling with illness.

The stalwart volunteer dedicated all her free time to helping people with community projects in Harehills, even giving up her spare bedroom for struggling families.

Anne, 59, volunteered with Harehills community café Toast Love Coffee, and spent hours at community centre CATCH (Community Action to Create Hope) preparing 'countless meals' for children affected by poverty.

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Harehills resident Anne White (bottom right), who was a stalwart volunteer for local community centre CATCH. Pictures kindly provided by CATCH.

The charity, based at Hovingham Avenue, has paid tribute to Anne, who it described as an "ambassador for people in need".

The charity said: "Anne was a good friend and a huge part of our CATCH family.

"We would walk into the café occasionally and she would be there mentoring someone, supporting a child with homework or offering advice/support.

"In 2018, Anne led our Healthy Holidays programme addressing holiday hunger and poverty in the area. She prepared countless meals, organised and delivered activities with children which resulted in over 1000+ children engaging in the programme.

Catch's community centre at Hovingham Avenue, Harehills

"Little did we know that Anne was helping families who were struggling, she would give up her spare bedroom and babysit.

"Anne embraced diversity, she loved learning about cultures and religions.

"In 2017 and 2018 Anne helped organise a Christmas Meal on Christmas Day itself for those who would be spending Christmas alone.

"During our end of year celebrations, Anne would avoid the limelight, hide herself away in the café and ensure all the dishes were washed before she would go home.

Harehills resident Anne White, who was a stalwart volunteer for local community centre CATCH. Pictures kindly provided by CATCH.

"Anne was more than just a volunteer."

Anne had previously worked for 20 years teaching languages at the University of Bradford, before later setting up a holistic treatment centre specialising in reiki, hypnotherapy and reflexology.

Up until her illness, Anne had been working as a freelance proof reader and donated funds to CATCH so that the centre could continue to open on Christmas Day to support vulnerable people who would otherwise be spending the day alone.

In its moving tribute, the charity added: "Anne, your legacy will live on in everything we do. You were an ambassador for people in need. Your service was to others.

Harehills resident Anne White (second from right), who was a stalwart volunteer for local community centre CATCH. Pictures kindly provided by CATCH.

"We will miss you and we will always remember you. May you rest in peace. Your CATCH Family."