Following her death in June last year, Helen Elizabeth Faulkner, president of the RNLI Mirfield Fundraising Branch, left in her will a significant legacy to the RNLI.
Helen had been fundraising for the RNLI for more than 38 years, during which time she had been souvenir secretary and secretary of the Mirfield branch, before being appointed branch president in 2018.
A keen yachtswoman, she had joined in the 1980s, when it was known as The Mirfield Ladies Guild.
Her love of sailing had already led Helen to meet her husband Tony, while they both studied at Manchester University in the 1950s. Their shared passion would lead to their wish to volunteer to help the RNLI raise much-needed funds.
For a number of years, Helen and Tony gave presentations on behalf of both the RNLI and the branch, travelling all around the local area.
In 2006, Helen received a silver badge, with a gold badge following in 2015, recognising her dedication and hard work.
Her enthusiasm and creative fundraising ideas made a significant contribution towards making the Mirfield branch what it has become today.
Nowadays branch members can often be seen taking part in supermarket collections or behind the branch’s souvenir stall at local events.
The RNLI Mirfield Fundraising Branch has a long, proud history of raising money for the charity.
Formed more than 90 years ago, with the formation of The Mirfield Ladies Guild in 1931, each guild member would collect an annual subscription.
Afternoon teas, coffee mornings, bridge and whist drives were held. The (then new) Vale Cinema would become a venue for dances in later years. By the 1950s and 60s bring-and-buy sales were introduced and Mirfield Flag Day added in 1971.
Popular in the seventies, cheese and wine parties soon became a regular fixture. The 1980s and 90s saw summer garden parties being held and Croft House, Upper Hopton, became a venue for race nights and ceilidhs.
By the late nineties, the guild was no longer an all female domain, as members’ husbands often ran the bar at events and helped out with collections. Many went on to become branch members and consequently the RNLI Mirfield Fundraising Branch was born.
Apart from Helen, several other members of the Mirfield branch have been recognised for their dedication to fundraising for the RNLI over the years.
Silver badges for long service have been awarded to guild members and former president, Mrs Sutcliffe, represented the branch at the RNLI’s 150th Anniversary Garden Party held at Buckingham Palace.
In 1998, the RNLI presented Mirfield Ladies Guild with a gavel for long service during a special ceremony held in Leeds.
The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea. Powered primarily by kind donations, its search and rescue service has been saving lives for nearly 200 years.
The Mirfield branch needs some new members to help organise and run fundraising activities. If you are interested in volunteering, contact the RNLI Mirfield Fundraising Branch chairman, Michael Moorhouse, at [email protected] or visit the branch’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/rnli.mirfield.fundraising.branch
If you wish to make a donation, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mirfield-rnli-branch