We began our day outside Leeds Town Hall where we met TSB partners for a spot of breakfast to learn about the inspirational work that they are doing in the community for charity. We then had the pleasure of meeting nine-year-old Owen Pattison and his lovely mum Michelle who spoke to our host Amanda Byram about their story. Owen is currently at the Leeds General Infirmary undergoing treatment for leukaemia but he wanted to pop along and nominate the incredible Candlelighters Charity for an award. The charity funds research, family holidays, grants, essential additional services within the hospital and vital support for families battling children's cancer and they have been a lifeline to Owen’s family. When Michelle had to leave her job to care for Owen (and his 5 brothers) they gave the family a cheque for £200 to spend on simple things like cups of coffee at the hospital, small comforts that help at such a difficult time.
The inspirational Nathan Atkinson joined us next on the bus. He is the founder of Fuel for School and Head Teacher at Richmond Hill Primary School. The project is a partnership with The Real Junk Food Project and was designed to remove hunger as a barrier to learning by providing all 600 pupils at the school with breakfast each morning. Children at Richmond Hill now start their day in school with toast and a drink. The food provided is wasted food that would otherwise have been destined for landfill. This work has truly enriched the wellbeing of children, their families and the community of LS9. To further raise awareness of wasted food and the importance of healthy breakfast, Fuel for School offered to feed every primary aged child in Leeds. 10,000 children are now signed up to this event from schools in Leeds, Bradford, Sunderland and Doncaster. Nathan, who is nominated for the TSB Community Award told us,
“As a country we spend millions of pounds on teachers but that’s wasted when children are going to school hungry and can’t learn. You can have a great school and a great curriculum but if those children aren’t ready to learn the results are going to be reduced”.
Next up were the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Leeds, Councillor Gerry Harper and Lynne Scholes who told us all about some of the amazing work that goes on in Leeds. We were soon joined by some of these amazing people when volunteers from Day One Trauma, Leeds Children’s Hospital Appeal, the Breast Cancer Research Action Group and the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre came onboard. All of these charities do incredible work throughout Leeds to provide vital care and support to those in need and we were delighted to meet them all.
Emmerdale star Tony Audenshaw was next to board our distinctive Routemaster resplendent in purple Union Jack livery. He popped into the TSB Pride Pod to nominate Ken Lomas from the charity Bloodwise. This charity funds world-class research and offers expert information and support to anyone affected by leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood cancer related disorders. Ken has worked tirelessly to raise the charity’s profile and a huge sum of money over the years, and he’s done it all as a volunteer. Tony met Ken through his connections with Bloodwise, including taking part in the Great Yorkshire Run for the charity. He told us,
“The Pride of Britain Awards is pretty amazing. It’s one of the few award shows that are genuine, where proper people get awards for doing proper stuff”.
Leeds was full of inspirational people going above and beyond for other people and we loved hearing all of the stories. Next stop, Manchester.