£100,000 raised for Martin House children's hospice by Otley team

Martin House Children's Hospice, Boston Spa

Martin House Children's Hospice, Boston Spa

First published in Local news
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Ilkley Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A fundraising group has thanked the people of Otley for helping it raise a massive £100,000 in just eight years.

Martin House Children’s Hospice’s Otley Area Friends Group reached the landmark figure during one of its regular collections last Sunday.

The group was founded by Otley resident and Martin House ambassador Vic Heffer, 82, and has about 20 members including his wife, Liz.

Mr Heffer said: “I am very proud of the folk who have achieved this – because it wasn’t me, it was the group – and of the people of Otley who have kept putting their hands in their pockets to put money into our buckets.

“And it’s all for a place that does so much for children and young people with life-limiting illnesses and their families, free of charge, without receiving any Government help.

“I keep a detailed record of what we are raising on our computer so I knew we were near the £100,000 mark, and we passed it sometime on Sunday when we were collecting at Stephen H Smith’s garden centre and the ‘magic pound’ went in.

“I couldn’t say how many people have given us money over the years but some come to the car boot sale, for example, every Sunday and give something.”

Martin House says it has been overwhelmed by the support it has received from the Heffers and the group, with the hospice’s West Yorkshire community fundraiser Sarah Tarpey hailed the £100,000 total as a “massive achievement”.

She said: “What will this mean to Martin House children and families?

“Well, to put it into context £100,000 will buy the basic medical supplies for the children staying at Martin House for more than six years!

“Or it would run the hospice and all its outreach community services – that is 24 hours of care and support for more than 400 Yorkshire children and their families – for a whole week. That is just such a special thing for this very special couple and the group to have made happen.

“Vic stands at the Otley car boot sale every Sunday, come rain or shine, with a collection bucket. He has only ever missed one after being hospitalised, and the only other day I have ever known him to take off is Christmas Day, which is just incredible.”

The Otley Area Friends Group gathers cash by holding weekly collections at local supermarkets and the car boot sale, and also holds coffee mornings, fashion shows at M&Co, an Easter barbecue at The Junction Inn, and a festive stall.

Collection tins are stationed in shops and pubs around town too and the group – which Mr Heffer sends a newsletter out to three of four times a year – enters a collection tree at the annual Otley Christmas Tree Festival.

Looking back on a very busy but successful eight years Mr Heffer said: “I didn’t think I’d be doing it so long but I love it, I’m convinced it’s what keeps me going and I get to meet lots of lovely people.

“The hospice does so much good but it needs nearly £5 million a year to run – compared to that £100,000 doesn’t look so much. So we’ll keep doing whatever we can to help.”

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