Queen of the collecting tin calls it a day after 30 years

BIG-hearted Esther Richardson has decided to pack away her collection tins after 30 years of boosting charities’ coffers.

The prolific fund-raiser has devoted almost half her life to helping worthy causes but after reaching 65 has chosen to “retire”.

Over the past three decades, the grandmother of nine has had her head shaved twice as well as knitting, sewing, walking, hula-hooping and manning stalls to raise thousands of pounds.

She has helped charities including Overgate Hospice, Yorkshire Cancer Research, British Heart Foundation and the Forget Me Not Trust.

Mrs Richardson, of Church View, Sowerby Bridge, said: “I will miss it. I’ll miss getting to know everyone.

“I never thought I’d be doing it this long. Just everything kept coming up and I really got into it.

“But I’m 65 now and I think it’s time I took a back seat. I’ll still knit for the baby unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital though.”

Charity fund-raisers have been lining up to pay tribute to Mrs Richardson’s impressive work over the years.

Jim Maudsley, vice-president of Halifax branch of Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “She has persistently come to our aid and raised thousands of pounds over the years. She’s a great character. She comes up trumps every time.

“She says ‘Jim, we’ve raised money for you. Come down and collect it’.

“One of the things I think is particularly good is she does it in her locality, in her comfort zone.

“She knows everyone so just grabs money off them and comes up with unique ways to fund-raise.”

The Bluebird Cafe in Wharf Street has worked with Mrs Richardson, regularly sponsoring prizes and gifts for her many raffles and stalls. Julie Millns, of the cafe, said: “She’s very good-hearted, very community-spirited.

“She’s very good. She seems to be able to organise everyone into doing it.

“She always seems to have a fair few things on the go.”

Caroline Bone, community fund-raiser at Overgate Hospice, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to Esther for all the fund-raising she has done over the years.

“Without the support of people like Esther and her supporters we simply couldn’t continue to provide the care to people in Calderdale.

“We wish Esther all the very best for her ‘retirement’ from fund- raising and hope she enjoys her spare time.”