Dewsbury hospital thanks fundraisers a million

A PAIR of fundraisers are retiring after collecting more than £1m for Dewsbury and District Hospital.

Val Archer and Margaret Sheard have a collected 100 years' experience at the hospital, and bid a fond farewell to friends and colleagues on Friday.

The pair started their careers in the NHS in the supplies department at the Staincliffe Hospital, and in 1995 Val was presented with the Regional Supplies Chairman's Award at a London ceremony for her long and valued service.

The duo retired from the department in 1999, and it wasn't long before they took up their new posts in fundraising.

In the past 10 years they have collected 1.2m for various hospital appeals, including the Rosewood Centre Appeal, which raised 750,000 in just 18 months, and the Faith Centre, which raised 100,000 in two years and was the first of its kind in the country.

In July 2005 Val was a guest at the Queen's Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of her commitment and dedication to fundraising. She was also highly commended for the Lifetime Achievement award in the annual staff Celebrating Success event last year.

Assistant director of communications for the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Julie Haddon, said the success of all the appeals was testament to Val and Margaret's commitments and dedication to both the trust and patients.

"They both went above and beyond the call of duty attending and personally paying for every ball, dinner, event and concert they organised," she said. "They have both made a significant and sustained contribution over an entire working lifetime."

Chairman of the appeals committee for the diabetes centre, Dr Tom Kemp, said Val and Margaret had made asking for money an artform. Thanking the committee members, which also includes John Hemingway and Margaret Watson, Val said: "We could not have had better helpers."