A local OAP from Little Weighton is celebrating a quarter of a century of fundraising in 2017.
Carol Winter has raised over a hundred thousand pounds for HERIB over the last 25 years and is still going strong.
It was twenty five years ago in February that Carol met former HERIB Fundraising Manager Bernard Wymark who approached her at another charity event to ask if she would also raise funds to help local people with sight loss.
Her first event was a karaoke music evening held at the former Northern Food Club House, now Hull City’s training ground, where she initially began fundraising with her friend Brian Shaw, Manager of the club house, until he stepped down a number of years ago.
Over the years Carol has organised an amazing variety of events from walks to charity balls, quizzes to runs, bike rides to fancy dress nights, karaoke nights to store collections.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” says Carol. “But I’ve laughed throughout all of my fundraising exploits. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me over the many years, without you my dream to help local people with sight loss would not have been possible."
“There have been lots of highlights. My most successful year in terms of raising funds was 2007 when I ran the Great North Run for first time and raised over £6,000 which helped to buy a new minibus. On a more personal front, one of my highlights came in 2011 when I ran my first marathon up in Edinburgh.”
Sadly Carol had to give up her running due to a hip injury at the age of 69 but not before she ran the a relay leg of the Hull Marathon one last time with some of her family and friends to raise yet another £1,000.
When asked what keeps her going, she says, “It’s the thought of not being able to see. People don’t realise how lucky they are. Close your eyes for just five minutes and try to do all those simple things you take for granted when you can’t see what you’re doing. It’s such a frightening thought.”
This year Carol has set herself yet another incredible challenge: To raise enough money to purchase a new minibus for HERIB at a cost of £30,000.
The charity uses minibuses to transport some of its most isolated visually impaired members to and from its nine weekly day groups as well as to a number of regular activity groups including walking, acoustic shooting and on monthly outings.
“A third of blind and partially sighted people never use public transport because of the problems it poses and 40% rely on others to drive them around. Over half have to resort to using costly taxis for easier access,” says Alison Stannard, Services Manager at the charity.
“Our minibuses are a real life line for many local people with sight loss who would otherwise struggle to leave their homes because of these problems of using public transport, getting to unknown venues, accessing unknown travel routes.”
HERIB regularly services its vehicles, however, given the age and mileage of its existing buses, maintenance costs are only likely to increase and several buses will need to be replaced in the near future to avoid any loss of support services.
When Carol Winter heard this, she immediately decided to do something about it.“I want to carry on fundraising for as long as I can but at the very least until I’ve raised enough for a new bus,” she says. “And I’m hoping I can persuade as many people as possible to help.”
“Please make a donation to mark my 25th anniversary appeal, and together we can make a real difference to local people with sight loss.”
Donations can be made online at JustGiving or cheques can be sent made payable to HERIB addressed to: HERIB, Beech Holme, Beverley Rd, Hull, HU5 1NF.
Or cash donations can be dropped in to Winter Shoes in Cottingham.