South Yorkshire cricket legend Dickie Bird gave a huge show of support to a hospital appeal when he donated £35,000.
The Barnsley-born cricket umpire chose Barnsley Hospital Charity’s Tiny Hearts Appeal as his charity of the year.
The appeal was launched to help fund a state-of-the-art neonatal unit for babies who need special care. And Dickie gave it a big boost by donating £35,000.
Speaking at the hospital, Dickie said he was ‘delighted and honoured’ to be involved with the appeal.
“Barnsley is my home town and the appeal is raising money for a tremendous cause for the people here,” he said.
“I have been and visited the ward and seen for myself the great work of the staff caring for the premature babies and I felt very humbled – it brought a lump in my throat and a tear to my eye.
“I sincerely hope that everyone will put their hands in their pockets to support this worthy cause and I’m sure it will give people the same sense of pride as I feel to be involved in this.
“If everyone in Barnsley donated just £1, it would be a massive boost to the appeal, taking the total almost half way towards the £1m target.”
The planned neonatal unit will be built alongside the Barnsley Birthing Centre, which means babies will not have to be exposed to different environments and temperature changes, nor will they have to be taken anywhere in a lift.
All money raised by the Tiny Hearts Appeal will pay for essential equipment such as intensive care units for babies that need that extra help with breathing, keeping warm or feeding, double beds and homely furniture for families who need to stay at the hospital, and the best infant resuscitator equipment.
Chairman of Barnsley Hospital Charity Steve Wragg said: “We are absolutely delighted that Dickie Bird has chosen to support our Tiny Hearts Appeal.
“He is one of Barnsley’s biggest celebrities so putting his name to the appeal is sure to drum up even more support from local people.
“We are extremely grateful for Dickie’s very generous donation of £35,000. This money is a big step in taking us closer to the £1m total.
“Our current total for the appeal stands at almost £130,000 so with Dickie’s donation to add we are well on our way.”