Sheffield hospice gets £42,000 boost thanks to charity ladies' lunch

A charity ladies’ lunch in Sheffield which started 30 years ago is celebrating raising £42,000 for St Luke’s Hospice.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 5:01 pm
From left to right, Elliott Thorpe, all the ladies are members of my team, Yvonne Birch, Tina Gage, Maxwell Thorpe the singer, Alison Roebuck, Kelsey Barrie, Natalie Drury, Ali Odwyer, Emma Allen and myself. Missing is another team member Chloe Eyre.

Former admin manager Julie Pickering, aged 62, has been organising ‘meals on heels’ for 30 years, missing only one year since it began in 1989.

In that time they have raised around £2m for local charities and organisations including the Ryegate Centre, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Cavendish Cancer Care and Springfield School.

Julie said the very first Friends for Children’s Charities lunch 30 years ago saw just 50 people attend and raised a few hundred pounds.

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Julie Pickering charity lunch.

This year’s event, however - which was held at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground over two days last week - saw 600 guests come and raised more than £40,000.

She revealed that the one year she missed in the last 30 years was when she retired from work, but was persuaded to carry the lunches on after an outcry among regular attenders.

She said: “It is fantastic and I love doing it. I do all sorts of charity things but this is the one constant. We still get some ladies who came to the very first one 30 years ago.

“We try to go for the underdog rather than the bigger charities these days. I was really excited to ring St Luke’s.

Julie Pickering charity lunch.

“When I did the sums on that Friday night it was so emotional. I just couldn’t believe it.”

The headline sponsors of this year’s lunch were Abbey Holdings, with Irwin Mitchell, Ferndale Garden Centre, The Bra Co. and Local Scaffold Services also taking part.

As well as ticket sales, the day itself also featured shopping stalls, an auction and a raffle with prizes including a Mulberry handbag.

Alongside being a prolific fundraiser, Julie is also busy supporting her husband John in his duties as High Sheriff.

Julie Pickering charity lunch.

The year-long honour - which ends in April - has seen the couple support charities and causes across the region including anti-knife crime initiatives and dementia care.

“It is very full-on but we have tried to go to everything that we can,” said Julie.

“We have really enjoyed it.”

Julie Pickering charity lunch.