Close ties to charity for our Fred

A TIE-DY SUM: Fred Butler with the tie that helped raise �300 for charity.(d31011108)
A TIE-DY SUM: Fred Butler with the tie that helped raise �300 for charity.(d31011108)

A MAN who came to the aid of a businessman in distress by loaning him a tie has helped put a smile on the faces of countless children.

Last summer Fred Butler, 78, of Roberttown, was helping his daughter, Gillian, at her Dry Cleaning For You shop, in Northgate, Cleckheaton, when harried businessman Dale Asplin entered.

He explained that he was passing through Cleckheaton en route to an important meeting, but had forgotten to bring his tie. With little prospect of finding one in town, without hesitation Fred removed his own blue tie and Dale was on his way.

Weeks later, Dale’s Lincolnshire-based company, Prince Build Limited, returned the tie with a thank you note and Fred expected it would be the end of the tale.

“But in November Gillian got a phone call asking for me. The company holds an annual fundraising dinner when the biggest mistake of the year is rewarded with a prize,” Fred said.

“It turns out that Dale was a director and his secretary nominated him. A few weeks later, two of the company directors drove up to Cleckheaton in a Porsche to see me.”

The men took pictures and filmed Fred for footage to be screened at the dinner and he happily obliged, even taking them out for dinner. Gillian then received another phone call from the company asking for his favourite drink, as a thank you for being such a good sport.

At the dinner, it was decided that a donation of £300 would go towards the Smile Train, in honour of Fred’s kindness.

Gillian said: “I remembered seeing an advert on television with dad for the Smile Train charity, which provide operations for children with cleft palate.

“He said that if he won the lottery he would give money to them.”

Fred added: “I was flabbergasted. It’s fantastic, especially because it’s such a good cause. The surgeon can do one operation for around £50, so this meant that at least six children could benefit.”

Dale’s fellow director Matthew Pudney said: “On the night, Dale had no idea we’d been to see Fred and was completely shocked.

“Every year we raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and a nominated charity. Because of how Fred felt about Smile Train and because it was such a good story, we just wanted to repay the favour.”