Marieke Haigh, part of the family-run, Haigh’s Farm Shop in Mirfield, celebrated her 50th birthday in a unique way by hosting a barn party that raised an astounding £50,472 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) and The Kirkwood Hospice.
From this total, Yorkshire Air Ambulance received £25,236, a significant contribution that will offer vital ongoing support for the charity’s missions.
The celebration drew hundreds of attendees, who generously supported the two crucial charitable causes, while marking Marieke’s milestone birthday. At the heart of the evening was an auction boasting 25 lots, thoughtfully contributed by local businesses and friends, presenting guests with the opportunity to bid on unique items and experiences.
Among the sought-after auction lots were a box at Pontefract Races with full hospitality, a day of simulated game shooting at Grimston Park in Tadcaster, an original oil painting from the esteemed artist Richard Gower’s private collection, and a week-long stay for up to 8 people in a self-catering ski chalet at the picturesque Ovronnaz Ski Resort in Switzerland.
Guests were also treated to an array of entertainment, including live music sets featuring Marieke herself, two vibrant bars, a late-night disco, mesmerizing magic performances, an ice cream van, and a delightful carousel.
The event catered to guests of all ages with added attractions such as a kids’ sweet shop, a bouncy castle, and a thrilling bucking bronco.
Expressing her gratitude, Marieke said, “I’m overwhelmed by the incredible donations my birthday auction received. It is truly beyond fantastic to witness how a celebration can transform into an opportunity to make a significant difference for such important charities like Yorkshire Air Ambulance and The Kirkwood Hospice. None of this would have been possible without the kindness and generosity of everyone involved. To be able to raise over £50,000 for my 50th birthday is truly humbling – £1,000 for each year of my life!!.”
Throughout the evening, guests were also encouraged to donate via collection buckets, further bolstering the overall fundraising effort.
At a recent cheque presentation held at The Kirkwood Hospice, representatives from both charities gratefully received the donations, expressing their heartfelt thanks to Marieke for her unwavering support.
Stef Maynard, West Yorkshire Community Fundraiser at YAA, who attended the cheque presentation, said, “Marieke has been an unwavering supporter since 2018, demonstrated through her personal fundraising efforts and the consistent support from Haigh’s Farm Shop. Her steadfast commitment to giving back to charitable organisations, such as ours, is undeniably inspiring. This support enables us to maintain our crucial lifesaving missions, ensuring swift and essential care reaches Yorkshire’s residents during their most critical moments.
We extend our heartfelt appreciation to everyone who generously contributed fantastic auction prizes, actively participated in bidding, and made donations on the night. Of course, a special acknowledgment goes to Marieke for her exceptional planning and organisational prowess, which made this extraordinary event a reality!”