When the fundraising team at Huddersfield-based Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice had the idea of challenging local children to raise money for the hospice, they were unprepared for the scale of their response.
“I said in the office that it would be great if we could raise just £80,” recalls Lynsey Marshall. “We could never have imagined they would actually raise over £80,000 – and that’s before we add in the Gift Aid, which will amount to a further £10,000 at least.
“This is the most successful campaign we’ve ever run by far! It just shows you how children respond to the idea of other children who are in need.”
The idea was to ask local schoolchildren to do a sponsored ‘Around the World Challenge’ by walking either a mile (primary schools) or two miles (secondary schools) and seeing how their miles added up compared to the circumference of the Earth, which is 24,901 miles. Could they, collectively, walk around the world? In the event, over 25,000 children, in 80 schools, youth groups and uniformed brigades across West Yorkshire threw themselves into the challenge and spanned the Earth with ease.
Word of the walk quickly spread to other schools and groups, including junior sports groups, uniformed groups and faith organisations, who also joined in.
Young people of every age and ability signed up to the challenge, from nursery schools to colleges and even special schools. It became clear that the children felt very moved by the work the hospice carries out.
10K: Kamlesh Patel recently took part in a ten kilometre run in Bradford
A man from Bradford has been instrumental in raising over £24,000 for charity.
Kamlesh Patel has participated in a number of fund raising events, many of them physically challenging, and he’s showing no signs so slowing down.
Marie Curie is a charity that is very important to Kamlesh, so much so that he’s helped to raise over £9,000 for hem.
“Marie Curie needs donations to continue running its nursing service, hospices, support line and much more,” Kamlesh explained.
“Cancer touches the lives of many, young and old.
“I feel emotionally touched seeing people suffering from cancer and wanted to do something for them and their families, which will help the cancer patient’s quality of life.
“The hospice in Leeds-Bradford provides free specialist medical cancer care for people with serious and terminal illnesses and emotional support for their families, giving them the best possible quality of life.”
The hospice is a place where cancer suffers can stay, or visit regularly to receive treatment such as pain relief, physiotherapy and complimentary therapies.
“It’s a warm, welcoming place where loved ones can be together,” Kamlesh said.
“And because the hospice works hand in hand with local nurses in the community, they also help people return to their own homes and be looked after there.”
FUNDRAISING: Kamlesh Patel has helped to raise an impressive £24,000 over the years for various causes
The rest of the 55-year-old’s efforts have been for organisations both locally and internationally, raising money for causes like St Luke’s Hospital (Bradford), St James’s Hospital (Leeds), Oxfam, Sport Aid and the Kenya SEWA project (Selfless Efforts for Welfare of All - a Hindu faith-based humanitarian non-profit service organisation) to name just a handful.
“Fundraising is difficult, because with every challenge I do people’s expectations get higher. When I go around again asking for them to sponsor the next one they’re keen to know how I’m going to top the last challenge completed,” Kamlesh laughingly explained.
“They want me to do tougher challenges and it becomes even harder.”
Kamlesh said that marathons are very physically demanding and unpredictable.
“You don’t know what to expect on the day. Mental preparation is very important when you're running, you have to rely on yourself.”
Still, Kamlesh won’t be slowed down. He’s already planned several fundraising events for 2017, including the Greater Manchester Marathon in Trafford on 2nd April and a Yorkshire Three Peaks trek, which covers an exhausting 24 miles, and includes a 5,200ft ascent.
To help Kamlesh in his tireless efforts to raise money, check out his Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kamlesh-patel-2017
KIND-HEARTED: 10-year-old Shyla Hanif has been touched by the work that local charities do and wants to help them
Sweet sprinkles of hope
“It must be so hard for mums and dads and brothers and sisters to deal with a member of their family being so sick or even dying.”
A ten-year-old from Leeds has been setting a fine example by fundraising for children who need urgent heart surgery but also for those who are extremely sick and need the care of a hospice in their final days.
Shyla Hanif, a Year 6 student at the Grammar School at Leeds, bravely stuck up her hand at the Give a Gift charity dinner that she attended with her family. She pledged to raise £500 for Leeds Children’s Heart Unit and Martin House Hospice during the evening, much to her parent's pleasant surprise.
Working with the school, which encourages its children to raise money for a number of causes, Shyla roped in her ever-helpful friends at GSAL. They baked buns, brownies, biscuits, cakes and other confectionaries to sell in the playground, along with badges and wristbands in support of the two charities.
But this isn’t the first time the kind-hearted kiddo has wanted to make a difference. Shyla first donated her Eid money when she was just seven-years-old and has continued to contribute to Give a Gift in Leeds every year.
EAGER: Shyla's classmates Adam, Anya and Mimi have been rallying support all around school
“I was sitting next to my mum at the charity dinner, just before the new year and she was having a conversation with a mum and dad who’s baby had died because of a heart condition," says Shyla.
“I sat there thinking how lucky we are; I don’t know anyone who’s lost a baby due to an illness. I can't imagine how sad and difficult it must be for mums and dads and brothers and sisters to deal with a member of their family being so sick or even dying.
"If I can raise £500 or more, I think it will help these charities a lot.”
“I’ve learnt at the charity dinners how very, very important the Leeds Children’s Heart Unit are in doing life-saving operations. We get to hear about the different stories, and struggles families have had.
“And I know that Martin House Children’s Hospice care for very, very sick children, but they also look after their families too – which is amazing."
"I just hope I can meet my target - I'll be so happy."
Leeds-based Give a Gift, launched it’s initiative to fundraise for local causes in 2013 and have raised over £100,000 for the Leeds Children’s Heart Unit and Martin House Children’s Hospice.
“There is nothing more inspiring than a child wanting to help other children. Shyla should be very proud of her achievement. Raising such a substantial amount of money, at a one-off event at such a young age, should not go unnoticed. Well done, and a further thank you must go to all her wonderful supporters!”
Community Fundraiser Martin House Hospice
“We are overjoyed to have the support of Shyla to help with our fundraising efforts. As you are aware, the majority of our funds come from the generosity of Yorkshire people. There is something particularly special about children fundraising for children. We hope that in our special 30th Anniversary Year, more youngsters are inspired by Shyla's efforts and step out of their comfort zone to help fundraise for our children and young people.”
Give a Gift
“Give a Gift is delighted to support Shyla Hanif, a Year 6 pupil at the Grammar School in Leeds, with her fundraising efforts. It is admirable to see someone so young have this level of consideration for others less fortunate than us. It's highly commendable that she’s selling cakes/buns at her school for Martin House Children's Hospice and the Leeds Children's Heart Surgery Fund to help raise vital funds for children with life-threatening conditions. We have no doubt that Shyla's efforts will act as an inspiration to other young people of her age and she is a credit to her family.”
Head of Junior School
The Grammar School at Leeds
"We were delighted that Shlya showed the initiative to undertake this project. She has organised everything and led a team of other Y6 pupils. The younger children have supported the event very well and we are grateful to the whole school community for supporting these worthwhile causes."
BIG CHARITY EVENT: Sana has challenged herself with climbing the highest mountain in the British Isles, which stands at 1,344 metres above sea level
Charitable climber aims to scramble up over 4,000 feet
As part of a charity fundraiser, a Mirfield woman is preparing to tackle one of the ‘steepest’ challenges of her life as she prepares to scale Mount Snowdon.
22-year old Sana Abubaker, along with friends, will ascend over 4,000 feet to reach the summit of the highest mountain in the British Isles as she aims to raise £300 for her chosen charity, Muslim Hands.
She is now asking for help from the public to raise the money for the charity’s Food4Kids project, which helps to provide meals for children who are living in extreme poverty.
“I’m really excited to be taking part, as this is my first big charity event” said Sana. “The organisers are such wonderful people and it really is such an amazing charity.”
According to Unicef, 3 billion people worldwide are now said to be living in poverty, with the UK having 2.3 million of the population living in poor conditions.
Shockingly, Yorkshire has one of the highest child poverty rates in the country.
Sana added: “I have seen so many adverts on TV that show the horrific poverty in the third world countries, and here at home.
“I went to visit my sister in London a few months ago, and I saw so many homeless people on Oxford Street and inside the Tube stations. I was so shocked.
“It all became too much to bear, and I told myself that I had to do something to help.”
Sana has taken part in other charity events before and used to help serve tea to patients and visitors at Kirkwood Hospice.
She recently helped to serve food to families at Muslim Hands’ Family Fun Day in Rochdale - an event which attracted over 10,000 people and raised thousands of pounds for good causes.
“It was an incredibly hot day and being in the kitchen with so many people, right next to a hot grill, meant that we were drinking countless bottles of water,” said Sana.
“The queues were huge, and they got even longer throughout the day but it was so much fun and I told myself that I had to do this again.”
Sana will climb up Ben Nevis from 20th to 21st August.
POPULAR: The event was well-attended by members of the Leeds Muslim community as well as those of different and no faiths
Finishing off Ramadan in style with community fundraiser
A number of Leeds mosques came together last weekend to organise one of the city’s largest ever Eid gala fundraisers coinciding with the festive occasion of Eid-ul-fitr.
Eid marks the occasion when Muslims around the world unite to celebrate the month of Ramadan coming to an end.
It is a time when Muslims dig deep into their pockets in aid of charity, with followers of the Islamic faith in the UK raising millions of pounds in just four weeks for causes all around the world.
The gala event took place on Thomas Danby College’s sports grounds, in Roundhay, with the aim of building bridges within the community and beginning a trend of partnership in projects.
Amongst those involved with the organisation of the event were members from the Leeds Grand Mosque and the Lincoln Green Mosque.
It was set up to raise money for a variety of charities - Human Relief Foundation, Al-Khair Foundation, UK Islamic Mission and Syrian Association of Yorkshire – in one final charitable push following Ramadan.
INFLATABLE FUNTIMES: The kids enjoyed jumping on the bouncy castles and were full of the joys of Eid
A wide range of attractions were on offer for all age groups, including inflatables and bouncy castles, food and drink, a wide array of retail stalls and football programmes for children and adults.
A spokesperson said: “In addition to providing an atmosphere of fun and happiness on Eid, this was a celebration with a focus on building bridges, and a further aim of serving a wider altruistic cause through raising funds for various charitable organisations.”
The event was a huge success, with hundreds of attendees turning out on the day, including Cllr Asghar Khan and Cllr Mohammed Rafique.
In total, £3,975.86 was raised from the festivities with funds to be split between the chosen charities.
FUNDRAISERS: The Halifax to Bradford runners are hoping to raise more than £10,000 this year
Places still available for Halifax to Bradford fundraiser
In 2014, they raised £2,000, in 2015 it was £7,000, and now, with just weeks to go until the 2016 Halifax to Bradford charity run, the organising team are hoping to break all records and smash their five-figure target.
Open to all ages and abilities, the Islamic Relief-backed run challenges fundraisers to pound the pavement in the name of charity, running, jogging or walking the near 10km distance.
Set up two years ago by 32-year-old Khalifa Mughal, from Halifax, the run initially raised funds solely for Islamic Relief.
This year, funds will be shared between that cause and the British Red Cross with all funds going towards projects helping children around the world.
Khalifa said: “The run this year is a childrens appeal. Basically this year we will be helping the children all across the board, from Syria Palestine and the refugee camps to here in the UK.
“Children know nothing of the ugliness life can have. They know nothing of politics and so forth, and there are a lot of them out there who need help and we just want to do what we can.
The run takes place on Sunday 28th February with runners setting off from Halifax town centre en route to Centenary Square, in Bradford.
Children as young as seven-years-old through to 70 will be taking part in the race with Khalifa’s grandad once again signed up for the hilly challenge.
“It will be the third year my grandad will have done the run which is really good going,” Khalifa added. “He’s told me he won’t be using his bus pass this year so that will be good.”
The event has grown in popularity every year since its conception and has such become an annual event on the Islamic Relief fundraising calendar.
With the aim of smashing their previous fundraising goals, Khalifa said he was hoping to help as many children as possible.
“The more we make the merrier, but it’s not all about hitting targets for me,” he said. “It’s all about making a conscious effort and doing as much as we can to help.
“As long as we raise money to help the children who need it most, I will be happy.”
MEMORY: Fundraisers took part in a five mile run or walk in aid of the Martin House and Forget Me Not Children’s Hospices, in memory of Arslan Aslam
Family and friends of a teenager, who sadly passed away in hospital earlier this year, have raised thousands of pounds in his memory for two local causes.
16-year-old Arslan Aslam, from Ravensthorpe, suffered from muscular dystrophy and died five days after undergoing surgery, to allow him to sit up straight, at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
On Saturday 26th September, around 30 people gathered to complete a fundraising walk or run, from the family home in Ravensthorpe, to Huddersfield’s Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.
Raising funds for the hospice, as well as Martin House Children’s Hospice, over £4,000 was collected in total, following a number of fundraising activities in previous weeks.
TEAM: Around 30 people joined in the fundraiser, with local boxers, including Arslan’s brother Rizwan, running the distance
Amongst the walkers on the day was Arslan’s father, Mohammed, who along with his wife, Nasreen, and eldest son, Hassan – who also suffers from muscular dystrophy, completed the five mile route in around two hours.
Arslan’s brother, Rizwan, ran the distance with local boxers from across the region, after helping organise the event.
TRIBUTE: Arslan Aslam passed away earlier this year after suffering a cardiac arrest five days after surgery at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital
Speaking after the walk, Mohammed said he was delighted with the turnout on the day and hoped to repeat the initiative next year.
“We had a row of champions leading us out on the run with boxers from across the region, who knew Arslan, coming down to take part,” he said.
“It was a great effort by everyone who joined in, with the runners completing the route in around 51 minutes and the walkers in just under two hours.
“When we arrived at the finish, staff at the hospice were fantastic with us all and their hospitality was brilliant. To have raised around £4,000 is a great achievement and we hope it can help these two brilliant causes.”
Amongst the donors to the fundraiser was Arslan’s former school, Newsome High School, who collected £700 for the project, whilst Diamond Wood Community Academy also donated funds. Meanwhile, the fundraisers were also joined on the day by Dewsbury MP, Paula Sherriff.
With plans to repeat the run next year, Mohammed is determined to build on last weekend’s success and ensure they can smash their fundraising targets.
FAMILY: Rizwan Aslam was joined by boxers on the day to complete the five mile run in memory of his brother
“The event itself was kept relatively small this year which allowed us to make sure everything ran smoothly but next year we are already aiming to make it bigger and better,” he added.
“Hopefully, with the help of sponsors and the community we can raise even more money for Forget Me Not and Martin House.”
Lisa Calvert, Community Fundraiser at Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, thanked the family for their support.
“From everyone at Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice we want to say a big well done to all of the participants who took part in the sponsored walk and run this past Saturday and a special thank you to everyone who worked so hard to organise the event,” she said.
“We must raise £3.8million each year to continue providing our services and with just six per cent of this coming from government funding, the support of the local community is vital.”
Sarah Tarpey, Community Fundraiser at Martin House Children’s Hospice, added: “Rizwan’s efforts are truly inspiring and we thank him wholeheartedly for his support.
“The Aslam family have been a pleasure to work alongside and we are deeply touched that Rizwan has chosen to remember his brother, Arslan, by raising much-needed funds to support other young people at Martin House.”