Couple’s fundraiser 40th

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A big-hearted couple made their joint 40th birthday party a charity bash in honour of friends who sadly died before reaching that age.

Rachel Johnson and Scott Dean raised £30,000 through ticket sales and activities during the celebration.

The cash will go to Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice in Huddersfield and Overgate Hospice in Halifax, services used by their ailing friends.

Nearly 300 attended the Team Dean’s Fundraising Dream event at the Venue in Halifax after Rachel acquired sponsorship from contacts made through her Dewsbury-based business Yorkshire Packaging Systems.

Rachel said: “This event was very special to me because in 2010, my best friend passed away from breast cancer – she was 37 years old.

“It sparked two years of tragedy for people around us and we went to five funerals of people that never reached the age of 40. It made me want to hit 40 in a really positive way.”

The club was decorated in glittering purple, compered by compere Neil Hurst, and people took part in ‘posh’ tombola and an auction. The money raised doubled the couple’s target, ensuring both charities will get a respectable cut.

Rachel Johnson said: “We are fortunate enough to never have needed the services of the hospices, but my friend did use a local hospice and felt that they really helped her – myself and my husband both feel so lucky for our health, the health of our children and the health of people close to us, so it was important to celebrate in a way that allowed us to give something back.”

Jason Costello from Forget Me Not Hospice said: “I was asked on the night by a guest what the £15,000 donation means to Forget Me Not, not an easy question to answer but in simple terms the generous gift means that Team Deans 40th Birthday Dream will pay for the running of the hospice for two days and that is one unbelievable way to celebrate their big 40.”

Laura Whitham from Overgate Hospice added: “Our services are completely free of charge to our patients, which means that we rely on the local community to help us raise £2.5m a year. Without help from people like Rachel and Scott, organising their own events and raising thousands of pounds for us, we wouldn’t be able to keep our doors open.