Sheffield mum crowned Children in Need Fundraiser of the Year
A mum-of-twoÂ from Sheffield, who has raised moneyÂ tirelessly for the last 10 years has beate othern hundreds of applicants to be crowned the Sir Terry Wogan Fundraiser of the Year 2018.Â
Keeley Browse, aged 32, from Woodhouse, has raised more than Â£13,000 over the last decade through an annual fundraising gala, held at the Royal Pub on Market StreetÂ where she works behind the bar.
Every NovemberÂ the fundraising campaign is held with a different theme, with everything from pantomime to Pudsey's Christmas, and has grown from a small raffle into a wider community event.
Keeley was first inspired to raise money for the charity after becoming a mumÂ to son Harvey at 18, who is on the autistic spectrum.Â
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She said: 'As a child I grew up watching Children in Need, you get involved raising money with things like non uniform days. When I became a mother myself, I would see the heart-wrenching stories and could put myself in their shoes. I knew I wanted to help.'
Preparations begin in September, as theÂ a busy mum-of-two to both Harvey, 13, and four-year-old Lottie '“Â who is undergoing an assessment for autism '“Â finds time to rallyÂ the community to organise as many appeals as possible and collect raffle prizes from local businesses.
'We've done everything you could think of, sold raffle tickets,' she added. 'I even did a sponsored silence for seven hours, which for anyone who knows me they'd know it would be hard.
'I managed to raise around Â£400 with that, and we also cut a local man's hair, who had not had it cut since 1996, that raised around Â£2,200.'
Tony Morris, Keeley's driving instructor nominated her for the award for her valiant fundraising efforts, and initially did not tell her, but had to confess after she was shortlisted.
Little did she know, both Tony had been contacted to say she had won, and had set about organising a surprise party with the help of the community and Keeley's family, which would be broadcast on Children in Need on November 16.
Walking into the pub, Keeley says she thought '˜someone was having her on' when she was greeted by TV cameras and presenter Gaby Roslin.Â
Keeley said: 'I don't do it to be recognised, it was so touching. To even be nominated was amazing. When I was told I had made it to the shortlist it was amazing and I already felt like a winner.Â
'They all found out I had won. My sister was running round the village organising everyone and keeping the secret. I thought I was going for a curry!Â
'I felt like my legs were going to fall out from underneath me. It was an emotional night, it was lovely to see all my friends and family but I felt guilty like I was taking sole credit when it has been a team effort, I couldn't have done it alone.'
Since being crowned Fundraiser of the Year, Keeley has had more people contribute to this year's fund, which now stands at over Â£2413 and is still going.Â
'Its for everyone, the whole community and the Royal, but also the local businesses and others who have been donating andÂ giving prizes.'
For now, Keeley is concentrating on Christmas, but already has plans for next years fundraiser '“Â with possible themes including sports or musical '“Â and hopes that 2019 will be the biggest event yet.Â