Monday, 12 December 2011

Charity Scarf Makes Window Cleaner A Winner

Lee Appleby who won the Neurocare November Scarf Competition 2011
Woolly thinking - a charity winner: Some people took their scarf out to the Peak District; some took it on holiday to destinations like Gibraltar and Spain; and one couple even took it to Euro Disney where they snapped Mickey Mouse wearing it. But the winner of a city-wide charity competition to see who could photo themselves donning this distinctive lime and purple neckwear in the most unusual place took it nowhere so exotic.

Lee Appleby simply took it to work. “I’m a window cleaner,” says the 42-year-old of High Street, Mosborough. “I was doing the ninth floor of The Balance building in Trippet Lane, and I thought the view from up there, with me about to abseil down, would take some beating.” It did. The father-of-three was this week crowned the champion of the inaugural Sheffield Neurocare November scarf competition.

He beat off rival entrants including Mary Gregory who snapped a series of Disney characters in the winter warmer; Katie Goulding who pictured her horse wearing it; and Lisa Ellen-Riley who modelled it as a shawl and paired it with purple eyeshadow. But while the victory was good news for Lee – he won a digital camera and, more importantly, gets his mug in The Diary – it was perhaps even better news for Sheffield Neurocare itself. For the contest has seen more than 3,000 scarves sold across the city raising both money and unprecedented awareness for the Lydgate Lane, Crookes, charity.

“It’s really caught people’s imagination,” says fundraiser Emma Douglas. “I’ll be wearing the scarf in town and see someone else in one and you sort of do a little nod and touch the scarf – it’s like being in a secret club. Only it’s not a secret, obviously. “Some people have come up to me and asked what football team it represents, and then you explain it’s to raise money for the Neurosciences department at the Royal Hallamshire, and they’re really impressed, and often want to buy one too. In fact, I’ve sold quite a few that way so now I keep a dozen in my car. You only have to donate £1.”

And, although the photo competition has now finished, it was so popular she says plans are already afoot to make it an annual event. “It would be great if it became a bit of a Sheffield institution,” says Emma, who lives in Meersbrook. “We had a few dozen photos submitted this year but we reckon we could easily get more with a bit more promotion and word of mouth next year. “And some of those entrants were amazing. To see Mickey Mouse wearing one was great, although we thought Lee’s was perfect. We’re a Sheffield charity and his picture seemed to capture the essence of the city.” “Did it?” says Lee, who learned of the charity’s work after a friend suffered a brain tumor. “Fancy that. I was only wearing it in the first place because it’s cold up there. It’s lovely to have won, though.”

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