Grange stalwart honoured

Les Blakeley and other residents of Brooklyn Grange, Cleckheaton, have done a shoe box collection for the RAF. (d26111045)
Les Blakeley and other residents of Brooklyn Grange, Cleckheaton, have done a shoe box collection for the RAF. (d26111045)

RESIDENTS at Brooklyn Grange are to donate more than £2,500 to three good causes in memory of one of a dear friend who died earlier this year.

Members of the grange’s Residents’ and Friends’ Social Committee are to donate the remaining money collected over the years after the death of stalwart Lesley Blakeley.

Next Monday they will hand over £840 each to the Rosewood Centre at Dewsbury and District Hospital, Kirkwood Hospice and an Alzheimer’s charity.

Mr Blakeley was pivotal in setting up the fund to benefit the residents of the grange by funding trips out, social evenings and the annual Christmas party.

He died on August 1 after suffering an illness and the committee decided to donate the remaining funds to the charities close to their hearts.

Ken Hudson, who has been at the grange since 2002, said the stalwart would be missed by everyone at Brooklyn Grange.

“Les did everything. We even suggested nominating him for a Reporter Series Local Heroes award in the weeks before he died,” Mr Hudson said.

“Les ran the group and I helped him, along with the committee. He loved doing it because it gave him some meaning and he took great satisfaction from helping people.”

Mr Hudson said that every Thursday he would join Mr Blakeley to do a weekly food shop to Morrisons in Heckmondwike to buy food for the grange for the coffee mornings.

As well as ensuring that the residents’ social calendars were always busy, Mr Blakeley also organised shoebox appeals for the Armed Forces and Royal Airforce over the last three Christmases.

Last year, he also raised £400 split between Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the Cleckheaton Kids Come First Nursery – to buy pedal cars for the youngsters.

Mr Hudson added: “He was even presented with a certificate from Kirklees Council in recognition for the work he did. Les would help anyone.”

A permanent reminder of Mr Blakeley’s efforts will take the form of a bench to be placed outside the grange’s lounge – his favourite spot – for the continued enjoyment of residents for years to come.

“When it was nice he used to like to sit outside and chat to the old folk.

“He loved doing that, so we’re going to put it in front of the lounge,” Mr Hudson added.

“The presentation to the charities will be the end of our fund that we set up. The council has set up another social fund for the residents, so they can carry on going on social trips and gatherings.

“We have also donated £500 into the new fund so we can continue the group and have a party at Christmas.”