How community spirit can bring society together

Coun Harry Harpham joins Andrew Birtwhistle, Fiseha Gebreyes and Angela France to help at the foodbank in Tesco.
Coun Harry Harpham joins Andrew Birtwhistle, Fiseha Gebreyes and Angela France to help at the foodbank in Tesco.
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That infamous line uttered by the late Margaret Thatcher ‘there is no such thing as society’ re-emerged last week following her death.

Yet in one of the areas hardest hit by her policies, where thousands of people lost their jobs as a result of her decisions, the sense of community spirit is never far away.

In fact, when it comes to friendliness, there’s no place on earth quite like Sheffield.

And how do we know?

The huge response The Star received to Good Deed Day - which encouraged residents to do their bit for their community, the local environment, or fellow man.

In an age where the bad news seems to outweigh the good, we were keen to show that, on top of being crowned the safest city in England, Sheffield is also the kindest.

Today we highlight all of those who did their bit, as the good turns came in plentiful supply - with schools, groups and even councillors jumping on the philanthropic bandwagon.

Paul Eyre, aged 65, and his wife Elaine, 57, members of the Sheffield branch of the Oddfellows Society, took time out of their day to take elderly couple Bob and Marjorie Dunn to Hathersage from their home in Chesterfield.

Bob, 87, and Marjorie, 70, were due to catch a coach for a week-long holiday in Devon and needed transport to make the bus station in time.

Paul said: “Oddfellows runs trips half a dozen times a year and each time members make special efforts to make sure everyone who wants to go can do so.”

It may have been a small gesture - but for the married pensioners it made a world of difference.

Whether it’s doing their bit for charity, going out of their way to help others, or picking up some litter in their area, The Star’s Good Deed Day was proof Sheffield folk are always happy to help.

Reader Nel Shallow got in touch to tell us: “I have been so heartened by all the neighbourliness I’ve seen and experienced this winter. Such a sense of community and of caring for one another... path-clearing, shopping fetched, lifts offered.

“One lovely person even trudged through the snow with a sherry trifle when I was poorly over Christmas. Sheffield is a great place.”

Even Sheffield Council got in on the act, with Coun Harry Harpham lending a hand at a food bank in Spital Hill, Sheffield. The scheme encourages shoppers to add one item to their weekly shop - whether it’s a bag of sugar or a tin of food - which will then be donated to the stock to put food in the mouths of some of Sheffield’s poorest people.

And that feel-good factor was spread throughout the store, with plenty of kind-hearted Sheffield customers dipping their hands in their pockets to help a good cause.

Coun Jack Scott achieved the good deed gold star by getting his hands dirty during at Owlthorpe Community Forum’s litter picking session.

Youngsters at Sheffield Springs Academy used the day to put helping others high on the curriculum.

Led by Karen Fereday, Learning Resource Centre Manager at the academy, four young volunteers formed a fundraising group and adopted a spring theme for their latest activities, planting daffodils at the front of the building to help promote the sale of bulbs, as well as selling daffodil pins in support of Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Principal Russell Heritage said: “As an academy at the heart of its community, we work hard to ensure all of our students have an awareness of those less fortunate than themselves, taking positive measures to help make a difference.

“This fundraising group is just one example of that and we are incredibly proud of all the wonderful work they do.”