Yorkshire Evening Post appeal smashes £3million mark

Today the Yorkshire Evening Post is proud to announce its much-loved Half and Half Appeal has smashed the £3million mark.

By Alison Bellamy
Saturday, 14th December 2019, 6:00 am

Since launching in 1982, the fund which is believed to be the longest running newspaper charity campaign in the UK, has received donations for a vital cause which remains close to people’s hearts.

Many thousands of people across the city have made the contributions which help to keep the city’s two main hospices running. All cash is split equally between St Gemma’s and Sue Ryder Wheatfields.

Donations are often given in memory of loved ones or from people who were cared for by the hospices, which have large daily running costs, totalling more than £20,000 at each hospice for even the most basic of care.

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Laura Collins, editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post, is delighted to announce the YEP Half and Half Appeal has smashed the 3m mark.

Be it a couple of pounds in memory of someone special or larger amounts from a group fundraising challenge, nobody could have predicted that 37 years later it would reach such a magnificent total.

The Yorkshire Evening Post appeal has been a tireless source of funding towards end of life and life limiting care, when it is needed most.

Yorkshire Evening Post editor Laura Collins said: “Since it began in 1982, the Half and Half Appeal has touched the very heart of the people of Leeds.

“It has been a much loved institution in our city for almost four decades.

St Gemma's Hospice in Leeds needs 20,000 running costs each day

"The monies raised through generous donations from YEP readers has helped considerably to boost the running costs, which are desperately needed to keep our hospices functioning.

“Every single penny is put to good use.

“Our hospices, whose services and care are available to everyone in the city should they need it, are vital.”

Readers' messages and contributions are recorded in a daily column, keeping people up to date on how the original appeal is progressing, with a running grand total each day.

Tara Bean, head of fundraising at St Gemma's Hospice in Leeds

The appeal fund was initially launched to reach £1 million, which it achieved just eight years later in December 1990, and it was then decided to continue the appeal as it remained so popular.

Tara Bean, head of fundraising at St Gemma’s, said: “We are staggered to hear the appeal has topped £3m. This is a phenomenal achievement and we are overwhelmed by the generosity of the Leeds community.

“We would like to thank all at the YEP and its amazing readers who have been supporting the hospices for decades.

“Every single penny raised goes towards caring for local people with life threatening illnesses. The hospices are here for the people of Leeds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Elaine Hill, hospice director at Sue Ryder Wheatfields, Leeds

Last year alone, St Gemma’s cared for and supported over 3,000 local people. It costs more than £20,000 to run all of St Gemma’s services for one day.

Hospice care is totally free for patients and their families. The hospices are charities and rely on the support of the community.

At Wheatfields it costs at least £500 to fund a bed for an in-patient each day, with a £2m total to provide palliative care in Leeds each year.

Elaine Hill, the new hospice director for Sue Ryder Wheatfields, said: "Huge congratulations on reaching £3m.

"We are incredibly grateful to everyone who assists our fundraising which allows the vital work done at Wheatfields to continue.

"Whether we’re supporting people in the hospice or their own homes, we're there when it matters.

"Even though we may think the right care will be there if we ever need it, the reality is that there is around 2,700 people in the area surrounding Wheatfields in need of palliative care, and as many as 700 who cannot currently access the care they need.”

YEP Half and Half Appeal Factfile

To this day the YEP still does not know the identity of a contributor who walked in and left the astonished editor holding a brown paper parcel, containing over £5,000 in cash.

In the first six months, the appeal had reached £74,279, which included the biggest single cheque of more than £7,000 raised by the Leeds-based Streamline Taxis Association.

One singer who raised a huge amount for the appeal on the shopping streets of Leeds, ended up being treated in St Gemma’s Hospice himself. Street busker Bill Sayner raised more £38,000 for the appeal during the 1980s. When he was 74 in 1990 he was admitted to St Gemma’s for bronchial treatment and received a royal welcome.

The Half and Half Appeal was launched in June 1982. By Christmas that year it had reached £74,279, which included the biggest single cheque of more than £7,000 raised by the Leeds-based Streamline Taxis Association.