ILKLEY residents have been thanked for their ‘amazing generosity’ in supporting a church’s Christmas appeal.

The appeal, by St Margaret’s Church, raised nearly £4,000 to provide holidays for people with terminally illnesses and their families.

Spokeswoman Helen Pilling said that supporters of the A Bit of A Break charity had been overwhelmed by the public response.

She said: “The actual amount of £3,807.40 was amazing and far exceeded all our expectations.

“It makes such a difference to our small, comparatively new local charity, which was set up in memory of the late, dear Angela Sturgeon, one of our former cycling companions friend who was one of the pioneers of the ongoing fundraising effort.

“The actual total raised is stupendous and makes such a difference to us. For example, it will fund breaks away in beautiful places for about 25 families who are dealing with terminal illness.

“It gives them valuable time to make memories and escape for a while the routine of hospital visits and treatment.

“The support of the church and the response we had over the Christmas period gives us the confidence to keep going and to try to expand what we do by sourcing more properties, speaking to more health care professionals and widening our geographical area.”

Helen is also keen to point out that the Christmas appeal was a true community affair, involving many people who were not connected to St Margaret’s. Its fundraising events included concerts organised by All Saints’ C of E Primary School, Ilkley Grammar School and Westville House School.

She added: “We have been fortunate that those attending the concerts and services throughout the Christmas period are now aware of our work.

“Such support gives us the confidence to continue our work by finding more properties and working with more providers in a wider geographical area.

“So it’s a big thank you to all who help us, including businesses like shops and food stores and those who put their properties at our disposal.”