THE PEOPLE of Otley are being asked to donate 10p apiece to support a project that helps local cancer patients,

Hug on a Tray has proved a big success since it was launched at St James's Hospital, Leeds by the Otley-based Chevin Socialites group at the start of 2016.

The initiative involves providing Haematology ward patients - and their visitors -with free hot and cold drinks and snacks and also, periodically, covers the cost of their telephone, Internet and TV usage.

Hug on a Tray is supported by the Bettys & Taylors Group, which supplies it with Yorkshire Tea, and also received a £500 award from Skipton Building Society's Grassroots Giving Scheme last year.

Its ongoing costs, however, are high so organiser Lesley Noble has decided to start a Ten Pence Appeal to boost funds.

She said: "Our funds, despite the very welcome grant from Skipton Building Society, are dwindling so I had this idea to just ask everybody in town to give a little bit, a matter of pennies, to help.

"All we are asking is for people to bring along the coppers they might have lying around at home.

"They won't miss them but there are 14,000-odd people living in Otley and if everyone gave a little something we'd raise a lot of money."

To publicise the appeal Lesley sought the help of Otley photographer Christopher Winpenny who offered to design a promotional poster, and supply prints, free of charge to support the cause.

He said: "Lesley came to me and told me about her idea and showed me some photographs on her phone, so I said I'd do this for her - I know some of the Socialites and this is a good cause,

"So I created this shot for the appeal, and manipulated it to include al the things we wanted to show, and I will be giving her a lot of prints from it to use."

The message on the posters and promotional boards, above which are photographs of tea, coffee, biscuits and juice, reads: "Could you spare ten pence to help a cancer patient?

"Please donate to the Hug on a Tray appeal so we can promote the above goods to wards J88 and J89 and the Outpatients department at Bexley Wing, St James's Hospital."

Some 16 local businesses and venues have so far agreed to have appeal collection boxes and promotional material in their premises.

They include: Winpenny Photography, Skipton Building Society, Just Books, Casa Vitae, the Bus Station Snack Bar, Il Vicoletto, Otley Core, M&Co, Chevin Health Store, Beks Electrical, Doris Dent Estates, Otley Health and Martial Arts Centre, the Wharfedale Hospital cafe, the Falcon Club and The Junction Inn.

St John Ambulance Hall, on Gay Lane, is also supporting the appeal and donations can be dropped off there between 6pm and 9pm on Saturdays.

Cheques should be made payable to Socialites Hug on a Tray - for more details contact Lesley on 07931 892747 .