The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
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Our story: Grimsby & District Branch

The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
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16 Dec 2015

Where it started

In the early sixties the plight of the Eastwood family and Susan’s diagnosis had come to the attention of Lady Parkes, wife of Sir Basil and member of the prominent Parkes family in Hull. She contacted her daughter-in-law Mrs Judy Parkes, who lived in Grimsby, that it was required to form a committee and raise money. Judy rang a group of friends, many of whom were farmers’ wives busy with young families and supporting their husbands. The ladies did not have the usual constraints of going out to work and given this incentive showed great enthusiasm and wanted to raise money for such a charitable cause. Thus the Grimsby Leukaemia Committee was formed in February 1962 in Judy’s living room.

Fundraising stories

In that first year, under the joint Chairmanship of Mrs Judy Parkes and Mrs McCulloch, it was decided to hold a dance in Grimsby Town Hall. Tickets were sold at just 35/- each. The Minutes record this event as a ‘great success’.

The Coffee Morning has always been a staple fixture in our calendar. Coffee and homemade biscuits have been replaced with sparkling wine and smoked salmon sandwiches, but basically the format remains similar to the very first one held at Mr and Mrs W. Letton’s home in Healing in 1962. Our Committee has been accorded the great privilege, over the years, of being invited into the homes of some of our most loyal supporters to hold this event.

In the early years a significant fundraiser was the ‘nearly new’ stall at the Lincolnshire Show. This involved the collection of nearly-new clothes, books and bric-a-brac to be sold on the showground over two days, followed by a jumble sale of remaining items. This sounds all very straightforward which it was, but the amount of work involved was extensive. Goods and clothes were collected, sorted, placed on hangers wherever possible and labelled ready for ‘uniform’ pricing at the showground. The first sale in 1976 raised £673.19p, (£4,448.53 equivalent in 2012). It was to be repeated for many years and takings rose to the heady sum of £3,799 in 1988, (£8,395 equivalent in 2012).

Over the years the committee have done, and will do almost anything to raise funds for blood cancer research. The following list is but a few of our other activities: golf tournaments, gymkhana, hunter trials, shooting day, sponsored swim, silence, walks and discos, carol concerts, teenage dances, cookery demonstrations, bucket collections, tennis tournaments, fashion shows, antique road show and antique valuations.

Each year, the team known as Team Dransfield field a team of cyclists and make their way across Europe. This year they made their way from Munich to Berlin, and covered a staggering 430 miles. Money raised is divided between Dransfield’s chosen charities, we are so very lucky to be once again one of the chosen beneficiaries. Dransfield have contributed over £140,000 from 2007 to date.

In the latter years we have raised money with our annual Bikeathon, that was first run in 1999 and has run every year since then, a most enjoyable and profitable event, raising over £6,000 this year. The annual Golf Day, organised by Pynnie Strawson who joined the committee just 6 months after the inaugural meeting, is held at Waltham Windmill Golf Club by kind permission of Niel Strawson, and each year this raises in the region of £5000.

A proportion of the money on our balance sheet comes from people we never actually know, unless we are invited to collect a presentation cheque. These are people who have sadly lost a close friend or relative to leukaemia. These funds are recognised by our treasurer in the annual accounts as donations ‘In Memory’.

And of course our annual extravaganza – from relatively small beginnings this is, to date, our most financially successful event. We were fortunate to have been accommodated in a private home in Binbrook for our first ever Extravaganza in 1989; the following year we occupied the recently vacated Officers Mess at RAF Binbrook, from that date until now we have had the run of the Market Rasen Racecourse buildings. This provides us with ample space for stalls, catering and car parking. The Extravaganza, run over one evening and one day, involves a lot of pre-planning and we have a dedicated team who organise this from one year to the next. Every effort is made to invite stalls with a wide variety of merchandise. In addition the team organise food for both days; it is fair to say that we have built a reputation for a delicious menu, from canapés in the evening to soup, quiche, delicious cakes and ‘proper’ coffee for lunch the following day. In the last few years we have been incredibly fortunate to have local celebrity chef, Rachel Green on board to produce wonderfully delicious canapés to be enjoyed on the evening event as our customers peruse the stalls and shop.

In 2012 the committee celebrated 50 years of fundraising; this coincided with us reaching £1million raised since the committee began. We celebrated at the annual Shopping Extravaganza with committee members past and present gathering to record the special moment.


2015 will always be a very special year as this has been the launch of Bloodwise, again we chose our annual Shopping Extravaganza to launch the name and introduce it to our loyal supporters. It is fair to say we have received mixed feedback and this is sure to continue to be so for some time yet, until our new label is as well-known as our previous! However fundraising aside the committee have embraced the ‘new look’ and the flourish of colour from our new Bloodwise aprons has been very uplifting.

Considering our committee is not huge and that our support comes mainly from the same band of local people, to raise this massive amount is a tribute to all; supporters and members, both past and present. The fact that our committee remains strong and active after 53 years, albeit with many changes, is remarkable in itself.