Landlords raise the bar for local charities

Mark and Tracy Witherington, left, present a cheque to Jean Dixon, centre, and Bob Smailes, local and regional fundraisers for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, from money raised by sponsoring bike racer Peter Smith, right. Andrew Higgins  123003
Mark and Tracy Witherington, left, present a cheque to Jean Dixon, centre, and Bob Smailes, local and regional fundraisers for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, from money raised by sponsoring bike racer Peter Smith, right. Andrew Higgins 123003

They may have called time on running a popular village pub after three years behind the bar.

But the former landlords of the Bull Inn at Gristhorpe still intend to do their bit for charity after pulling in over £16,000 from punters.

Mark and Tracy Witherington have raised the impressive sum over the last eight years through a series of community fundraising events.

As previous managers of the Plough at Scalby, before it shut last October, the couple from Burniston are well known faces on the Scarborough pub circuit. They also ran the Grapevine cafe in Whitby and the pair are planning to front another pub in the area in the coming weeks.

Being at the heart of the community has helped them coin in thousands for local charities, including the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA), the RNLI and St Catherine’s Hospice.

Mr Witherington said: “The majority of the money was raised through the Scalby Walk, which used to be run from the Plough. The rest of it was done through events like race nights and auctions.

“It’s all down to the community. Without the community support we would never do it. Tourists have also got involved as they appreciate the work of the lifeboats and the air ambulance.”
The couple recently presented a cheque to the YAA for £710, which was raised through quizzes and barbecues at the Bull Inn. The pair also sponsored bike racer Peter Smith, who races his classic 1958 Norton ES2 motorbike, and donated money from every competition win.

Mr Witherington said: “I would like to thank people for supporting us in what we have done and for helping us to raise the money. I would ask them to continue making donations to the charities. It is important to support them as you never know when you are going to need their services. We are hoping to back managing somewhere in the next few weeks and start raising money again.”

The YAA operates two helicopters from RAF Topcliffe near Thirsk and Leeds Bradford International Airport. The life-saving charity offers a rapid response emergency service across Yorkshire 365 days a year.

The organisation has to raise in excess of £2.6million each year - around £7,200 per day - to keep the helicopters flying and to build reserves for the future. It recently welcomed The Duke of York as its Royal Patron.