Last November Rochdalian Harry Bell earned the prestigious title of Rochdale’s Man of the Year, an honour given to those in our community who have gone above and beyond the call of duty and given freely of their time for the benefit of others.
Despite stiff competition from other deserving candidates, Harry won the hearts of the judges and has been proving himself a worthy winner ever since.
“Once the crowds had gone, the photographer’s flashes died down and a little peace and quiet resumed in the beautiful surroundings of Rochdale’s Town Hall, Harry took me to one side, asking ‘What shall I do now?’ said Community Fundraiser Lillie Winterbottom. "Harry was already chomping at the fundraising bit, even after a few hours as Man of Rochdale” added Lillie. In reply to Harry's question Lillie simply replied, “Nothing Harry, you’ve earned this title through the years of hard work and effort, put your feet up”.
Well, thank fully Harry ignored this instruction and has helped Springhill and other local charities ever since.
Lillie added, “Harry isn’t bothered whether he’s sorting out a charity ball or marshalling at one of our sponsored events, he came along and helped out at the Santa Dash and even turned his hand to marshalling at Springy’s Sprint or Stroll in July – he even tried to change family arrangements so he could help out at April’s Hospice to Hospice Walk!!”
However, helping at these events was just the start of something truly fantastic. Harry very quickly inspired a whole team of helpers, donors, sponsors and contributors for a magical event in September – The Northern Lights Charity Ball.
Guests from all over Rochdale spent a fabulous evening listening to guest speaker Professor Brian Cox and sampling the delights of dessert made especially for the event by celebrity Chef Andrew Nutter, amongst other things. Guests were treated to a wonderful array of auction and lucky dip prizes, including the auction of an autograph book donated to Springhill Hospice by supporter Colin Fleet, the book containing autographs of all the 1957 Busby Babes Team which alone raised £2,200!
The night was a huge success and what came next surprised everyone…even Harry!
“When we had the initial idea for the ball we decided that we’d really like to raise enough money to keep the doors of Springhill Hospice open for one day, approximately £8,200. Little did we know that we would eventually donate enough money to fund over 10 days” said Louise Scott, one of the Northern Lights Charity Ball committee members.
The night was a very special one for local charities also, with over £100k being raised. Springhill Hospice are delighted to have received a cheque from the Northern Lights Charity Ball for the astonishing sum of £85,000, which will rise to £101,000 once Gift Aid has been added to the pot.
Thanks to all the hard work and dedication of a team that included Harry Bell, Louise & Michael Scott, Beverley Wrigley, Steve & Sian Barton and Christian Morris and event organiser Julie Perry and everyone who donated and contributed to the night.
“We are overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of Harry and his team and of course, the people of Rochdale, without events like this the future of Springhill would be bleak” – Julie Halliwell, CEO Springhill Hospice.
On Friday November 27th at Rochdale’s 2015 Man of the Year award lunch, Harry’s reign will come to an end. Do you know someone as deserving as Harry? Perhaps an unsung hero, someone who goes the extra mile. Contact fundraising for details of how you can nominate someone you feel is worthy of receiving the title. Perhaps you'd like to attend the luncheon, so see Harry pass on the mantle Rochdale Man of the Year 2015 on Friday 27th November 2015 Rochdale Town Hall.
Contact Melanie Caffrey on 01706 641790 firstname.lastname@example.org