Wonderful women bow out after 27 years’ fundraising brings £151,000 boost to local charities

TWENTY-SEVEN years of fantastic fundraisers have raised £151,143.45 for local charities and causes – but now the Woman of Oldham Committee is calling time on its efforts.

Over the years, the committee has organised hundreds of events – including flower demonstrations, silence auctions, strawberry teas, tapas nights and its annual luncheon – to raise money for good causes.

They always made sure to pick a small charity in the area who would benefit the most from their donations, ranging from Dr Kershaw’s Hospice and POINT forum for parents to Oldham Talking Newspaper and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

Their highest donation of £13,000 went to the Victoria Breast Unit at The Royal Oldham Hospital in 2009, enabling them to complete a garden which is still used by patients and visitors today.

But now, as volunteer numbers have dwindled and the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions has made holding events difficult or even impossible, they have decided to officially end their activities.

Their final donation of £3,393.45 was presented to Heathbank Support Services, which was raised through donations as their fundraising events were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Reflections of the years were fondly remembered at a final meeting of the committee: Margaret Chadderton, Clare Weston, Janet Larton, Eileen Cooper, Norma Beverley (and Jill Platt who was absent).

Clare, chairman, said: “We are really pleased with what we have raised this year, despite not being able to do much because of Covid. It’s nice to go out on a good note.”

Oldham Cancer Support 2008 cheque presentation

Margaret, treasurer, added: “Heathbank were so pleased because the money will help to keep them going. They were really emotional when they received it from us.”

Looking back at their events over the decades, they said the annual luncheon, which attracted more than 200 people, was always a stand-out event. It was held at The Avant Hotel in Oldham from 1993 to 2009 before moving to The White Hart, Lydgate.

At each annual luncheon, the committee named their Woman of Oldham – someone who had gone above and beyond to help good causes and the community.

Oldham Mountain Rescue Team 2010 cheque presentation

Myra Wyers supported the committee through her own fundraising and donated £100 at every annual lunch after she was Woman of Oldham in 1999.

The committee also reflected on the range of events and guest speakers they hosted, offering interesting and entertaining events for the community as well as raising funds.

Eileen, co-ordinator, commented: “A long time ago I attended a silent auction and thought we should try something similar – so we did and it turned out to be a really popular event.”

Their Lancashire Tapas nights were always a hit, and the committee thanked Ray and Sue Hicks at The Three Crowns, Scouthead for their support over ten years.

Guest speakers ranged from GMP Chief Superintendent Lillian King to Revd Carole Marsden who gave fascinating insights into their roles and lives,

The committee picked out the Oldham Mountain Rescue Team cheque presentation as one of their favourite meetings – because 40 men and two dogs Bryn and Dave all turned up to say thank you!

“The team came to everything we did and even took us up to Dovestones to watch them training with the dogs, which was a big highlight,” Clare added.

Over the years, the committee was recognised for its own work, receiving letters from Buckingham Palace and being nominated by members of the community for a Queen’s Voluntary Award in 2018 and finalists in the Pride of Oldham Awards 2007.

The Committee wants to thank you everyone who has supported them over the years and attended their events, and all the businesses who donated generous raffle prizes and vouchers.

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