ILKLEY and Harrogate charity Acorn now raised more than a million pounds in total for two good causes since it was set up 15 years ago.
Founded in 1999, the charity raises funds for people with dementia and their carers in the Harrogate, Ripon and Wetherby area through Dementia Forward and for research into scleroderma at Leeds Hospitals NHS Trust under the direction of Professor Paul Emery.
Founder Louise Hanen started the charity after her father, in his early fifties, was diagnosed with early onset dementia.
She recognised the dearth of support of people developing dementia whilst still of working age and set about raising funds and awareness to improve the care and support for these people and their families, enabling them to live in their own homes for longer.
At the same time, a friend, Maria Dawson had developed scleroderma disease and had been treated at Leeds Hospitals. Scleroderma is a disease which affects women mainly in their mid-years and attacks their auto-immune system. The disease can be fatal and has no known cure.
Through the efforts of Acorn, a research fellow and diagnostic equipment has been funded.
The donation by Mr Stan Sills in memory of his wife, Barbara, has brought the fundraising total so far to over £1,000,000 by the Acorn Committee.
Mrs Sills suffered from scleroderma and it was her wish to make the donation to Acorn.
Mrs Hanen said: “It has been a wonderful adventure to work with so many people to raise funds and awareness for our two chosen charities. We have so many supporters to thank and we are absolutely thrilled to have raised such an extraordinary amount which has made a very real difference in our community."
She added: "The Acorn Committee will go on and we look forward to raising more funds and awareness in the future.”
The Acorn Committee has raised funds for these two causes through events ranging from balls and parties to tennis, golf and bridge days, art exhibitions, fayres, bike rides and half marathons, through support from the Harrogate International Antique and Fine Art Fair and numerous local businesses.
The Committee has constantly evolved over the fifteen year period with Louise Hanen remaining at the helm throughout.
This year’s events so far have included the annual 100k Sponsored Bike Ride in May which raised over £40,000 and a tennis day hosted by Ripon Tennis Centre in June.
The next events are the Annual Golf Day, hosted this year by Pannal Golf Club on Friday September 5, the One Million Pound Ball on October 4 at Rudding Park, the Alf Tupper 10k cross country event at Camp Hill on Sunday October 19.
Acorn will also be the nominated charity once again at the Harrogate Antique and Fine Art Fair on October 15.
Visit the the Acorn website acorncharity.org.uk or contact Louise Hanen on (01423) 734876 for further information about any of these events.