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Local pensioners rise to the challenge again!

A spirit of generosity sweeps Leicestershire as the winter weather begins

Local pensioners Paul and Sue Newman have resumed their highly successful campaign to enable Leicestershire people to re-direct their winter fuel allowance. Fitness guru Rosemary Conley and Chamber of Commerce President Rick Moore have already pledged theirs.

All donations will either go to support for local children and teenagers with cancer, or to help local elderly people struggling with the winter cold.

A £10,000 donation from Paul’s late mother’s legacy is being used to match donations made. Mrs Joyce Newman had a long, dedicated career as a nurse. Paul says “Children were at the centre of her life as a mother, grandmother and nurse. She would be really happy that her legacy is supporting children and young people in the cancer unit at the LRI, via the “Our Space Appeal”.

Paul and Sue, from Glenfield, set up the 125 Winter Fund in 2010. They felt at a time of national austerity there were others who needed their winter fuel allowance more than they did.

Everyone over 60 and 80 receives the same amount as this is not a “means tested” benefit. Cheques or payment direct into personal bank accounts are now arriving.

The 125 Winter Fund was set up with the Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation, a charity which helps local companies and individuals to give to local causes of all sizes and types.

“Once we’d got it in place, it just took off,” says Sue. “A lot of people did feel the way we felt, and many little donations have made a big difference – to both local children and local elderly people.”

They have now raised over £30,000 for local causes, and hope to raise a similar amount in 2012.

The money will be gift aided and distributed immediately to two local charities: Age UK Leicestershire and Rutland, or the children’s cancer unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Tony Donovan at Age UK says, “We truly welcome help to help the most vulnerable in our community to survive the winter. We buy blankets, heaters, food and clothing and provide advice to help those most in need receive all the benefits to which they are entitled”

“Increases in gas and electricity prices hit people in fuel poverty much harder than many of us,” says Paul “Age UK locally need our support.”

The Our Space Appeal is to provide a new young people’s cancer unit and the recreational facilities suitable for their needs and recovery. Last year’s appeal helped build a new, specialist ward space so that children and young people can have their own space while being treated for cancer, rather than being on the adult wards. This is something the NHS cannot fund. This year, they will ensure that the new ward space becomes a real home for the young people. “We have been incredibly moved by all the things that the young patients and their families have already done to transform the cancer unit; and we want to support them to finish the job,” says Sue.

“If people can contribute part or all of their Winter Fuel Payment to either or both of these local causes, it will make a real difference” says Paul.

Donations can me made online or by post. You can also make a pledge by e-mail  or phone us on 01162 222205.