A BRAMHOPE based volunteer is urging Wharfedale residents to back the 2017 Great Daffodil Appeal.

Marie Curie Cancer Care's biggest annual fundraising campaign sees supporters across the country giving out daffodil pins in return for donations.

Local volunteers who can spare just two hours are needed to help with the street collections, which raise vital funding for the charity's nurses.

Recently appointed volunteer Lesley Hodgkinson, from Bramhope, wanted to support the cause after experiencing how important Marie Curie's work was at first hand.

Lesley, a retired speech and language therapist, first came into contact with the organisation after her mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in December, 2013.

She said: "This came as a terrible shock to mum and her family and we were all in turmoil.

"Five months after her diagnosis, the district nurses who were looking after my mum suggested that the charity might be able to provide some support.

"Marie Curie nurses became a beacon in the darkest of hours, providing mum with such compassionate night care until she, very sadly, passed away.

"A couple of years later I decided that I had time and was in a better place to give something back.

"I knew that each night visit from a Marie Curie nurse was expensive - £180 - of which half needs to be raised directly by the charity."

Last summer she staged an afternoon tea party - supported by friends and family - at her home which attracted more than 40 people and raised £450.

Spurred on by that success, she attended a Marie Curie drop-in session and ended up joining the organisation's new fundraising group for North Leeds, of which she in now Secretary.

Holding her first collection at a local supermarket in December, Lesley was immediately struck by how rewarding it felt - and hopes new volunteers will be inspired to lend a hand in Otley this month.

She said: "The North Leeds Fundraising Group is supporting the Great Daffodil Appeal and I will be helping with collections at Stephen H Smith's Garden Centre in Otley on the weekend of March 25 and 26, as well as Leeds city centre street collections on March 31.

"Im honoured to play a small role for such a worthy cause and I’ve had the privilege to meet several like-minded people who are passionate about raising vital funds.

"For anyone thinking about supporting the charity, my advice would be start small by volunteering two hours of your time to help with collections during March, and see where the experience takes you!"

To support the campaign visit.mariecurie.org.uk/daffodil, call 0800 304 7025 or contact the charity's local Community Fundraiser Jennifer Aspinall on (01274) 386190, e-mail jennifer.aspinall@mariecurie.org.uk .