Ee bah gum, it’s that time of year again… That’s right, it’s Yorkshire Day and by ‘eck was this year a good’un! What better way to spend the most important day in any Yorkshireman’s calendar than on the back of a trike with the newly crowned Yorkshire Heroes?!
We searched high and low, leaving no Dales Way rock unturned, to find the most deserving winner of this prestigious title. With more than 40 nominations, choosing the 2017 Yorkshire Hero was no easy task. After much deliberation, Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive, Sir Gary Verity and the Yorkshire’s Best Adventures team found a winner. Well, two to be precise.
Marie Butler, 49, and David Hedley, 50, are a Leeds-based duo who have done amazing work, supporting and feeding the homeless in Yorkshire. The project all started when David passed a homeless man on the street on his way to work and posted about it on Facebook. He and Marie then founded the Facebook group Homeless Leeds Support Group Yorkshire in order to raise awareness and bring together people who could help.
The pair organised their first soup kitchen on the steps of Leeds Town Hall on Christmas Day 2015 and have been working ever since. The incredible duo now hold bi-weekly soup kitchens in Leeds, as well as providing clothes, sleeping bags, and tents to those sleeping rough. Thanks to their amazing commitment and dedication, their initiative has now spread to York, Bradford, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Wakefield. This unstoppable team also want to set up groups in Scotland! These two are truly selfless and inspiring individuals; they receive no government backing or funding and give up hours and hours of their time helping others less fortunate than themselves. Marie even quit her full-time job and started part-time to allow her to set up more kitchens around Yorkshire. We can’t think of any more worthy winners!
David and Marie had no idea they’d even been nominated, let alone had won! We surprised them in Otley under the guise of bringing donations. And it sure was a surprise with Marie confessing “I thought I was going to be abducted! It was so secretive!”
When asked how they felt to receive the award Marie responded, “Proud, not just for us but anyone in the group who has contributed in any way, shape, or form. They are all marvelous people!” David added, “We represent everyone in the group. It’s bringing like-minded people together.”
This deserving duo were then whisked off on a six hour Boom trike tour following the Tour de Yorkshire route, courtesy of Yorkshire Trike Tours. The rain sent its congratulations but we donned some waterproof all-in-one suits and set off in true Yorkshire spirit declaring ‘it’ll be reet!’ The tour took us to some magnificent viewpoints in the Yorkshire Dales including Rylstone (home of the Calendar Girls), Kettlewell and Buttertubs Pass. Our heroes were also treated to afternoon tea and scones at Herriot’s Café in Hawes, England’s highest market town, before beginning the descent back down the Dales. We hope that David and Marie enjoyed their Yorkshire Day celebrations; they truly are Yorkshire Heroes!
If you want to see more of what David and Marie do or you want to donate your time, food or clothing then visit their Facebook page ‘Homeless Leeds Support Group Yorkshire’.
If you fancy treating your own Yorkshire Hero to an amazing day out then head over to Yorkshire Trike Tours to book your trip!
Check out our video review of the Calendar Girls Trike Tour!