YYA Helicopter

Teams from across the University of Leeds Facilities Directorate, which includes MEETinLEEDS, Great Food at Leeds and Deli(very), have nominated the local charity to support for 2016/2017 as the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA).



The YAA is a rapid response air emergency service that serves a population of approximately 5 million people across 4 million acres. The fast medical response that the Air Ambulance service provides is vital to a patient who has received major trauma, especially those with head and spinal injuries, as the Air Ambulance can avoid traffic congestion and uneven road surfaces to get patients to hospital within the “Golden Hour“.

On average, when a patient has been received by the YAA, they will always be only 10 minutes from the nearest hospital and 15 minutes from the most relevant treatment centre, as the 2 helicopters they have can reach speeds of up to 160 mph and cover the whole of the region seven days a week, 365 days a year. To keep both of Yorkshire’s air ambulances in the air they need to raise £12,000 per day, which is equivalent to £4.4 million per year.

Richard-Carrie-WebsiteWe welcomed back our former Sales & Marketing Director Richard Handscombe, who retired from MEETinLEEDS 2 years ago and is now a volunteer for YAA, as he presented information to staff at the University of Leeds about the history, importance and future of the charity.

Richard said:

“The charity was set up in October 2000 with 1 helicopter and a crew of 2 flying from Leeds Bradford Airport. Following Richard Hammond’s drag racing accident while filming Top Gear in 2006, in which he was flown to Leeds General Infirmary by the Air Ambulance, there were a number of generous donations from the public totalling over £250,000 and enabled us to buy a second helicopter. This also led to the BBC commissioning the “Helicopter Heroes” programme, which follows the work of our lifesaving workers.

As demand for the service has increased so have the need for donations. Since 2000 we have made 6583 missions and currently average 3 per day. The YAA is an independent charity and is entirely dependent upon donations: the government funding takes the form of the paramedics that are seconded from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service. An annual donation of 80p from every Yorkshire resident would cover the cost of the service. They save lives… One day it could be yours.”

Carrie Cheeseman, now a YAA volunteer, found this out when she and her two young children, Maxwell and Scarlett were hit by a car just a fortnight before she was due to get married. You can read the full remarkable story on the YAA website.

The University of Leeds will be holding a number of events throughout the year to raise money and awareness for the charity, so follow MEETinLEEDS and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance on Twitter (@meetinleeds and @YorkshireAirAmb) for the latest news.



Find out more and donate to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance on their website.

Watch clips of the fantastic “Helicopter Heroes” on the BBC website.

Macmillan - Martin House and University Team

Our charities, Martin House and Macmillan Cancer Support, collect their big cheques from the fund raising efforts of the University of Leeds!


Teams from across the University of Leeds Facilities Directorate, which includes MEETinLEEDS, Great Food at Leeds and Delivery, have been fundraising non-stop throughout the year for their chosen charities: Martin House children’s hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support. Some of the fundraising activities included selling Valentine’s Day biscuits, a Macmillan Coffee Morning and a taking part in a “Tough Mudder”!

Martin-House-Brett-Sarah-and-Stuart-WEBSarah Tarpey (centre), West Yorkshire Community Fundraiser for Martin House, made an emotional speech to staff and explained how the money raised will go towards the cost of pain relief medicine for terminally ill children:

“I am thrilled to have been invited here today to receive this generous donation from Abbey Water, and extremely grateful to Beverley Kenny and the whole team for making this happen. Over the past year there have been so many people working incredibly hard, undertaking such diverse fundraising as bake sales to “Tough Mudder” challenges, in order to raise money for some of the most vulnerable Yorkshire children and their families. Martin House cares for over 400 children with life-limiting and terminal conditions, and needs over £5 million pounds per year to run all our services. Without the generosity of people like these at University of Leeds, Martin House would simply not be able to do this. We are hugely grateful for their support.”

Macmillan-Brett-Matt-and-Stuart-WEBMatt Jameson (centre), the Leeds Fundraising Manager for Macmillan 

Every single day in Leeds, 10 people are told the news they have cancer. As you can imagine, this news not only turns their world upside down but their family, friends and work colleagues too.

£27 could pay for a Macmillan nurse for an hour, helping patients and their families receive essential medical, practical and emotional support that prevents people feeling like they’re facing cancer alone.

£5,867 could pay for 11,282 copies of the cancer guide – one for every person diagnosed with cancer in West Yorkshire each year. This Macmillan booklet can play a vital role in helping people feel more prepared for the future and confident they won’t have to face cancer alone.”

On 19th January, Abbeywell water presented a cheque for £2,500 to each of our charities, the money was raised through the sale of bottled water.

Brett Wainwright (above left), of Abbeywell water said: “Abbeywell water are yet again delighted with the amount raised by University of Leeds, with 5p donated from each bottle of Abbeywell water sold through University of Leeds in 2016 we really hope to beat the 2015 total giving greater amounts to your chosen charities!

We hope the monies raised will make a real difference to Martin House Hospice & Macmillan and assist them in the great work they undertake.

Also I’d like to thank all staff and students for their support in raising these fantastic amounts towards such great causes.”

The current totals from all fund raising efforts stand at £5,689 for Martin House and £5,400 Macmillan, but more events are being planned, with Valentine’s Day presenting the final opportunity for hitting our target of raising £7,500 for each charity. The fund raising team will be out and about selling chocolates, biscuits and roses!

Beverley Kenny, Head of Catering & Conferencing at MEETinLEEDS, who organises the fundraising activities said: “Working closely with Martin House has been a very humbling experience but it has also inspired me to put more energy and creative thinking in to continuing to raise monies for our new charities. It has been a challenge to engage with everyone and my hope is that our friends and colleagues will come and listen to the short presentations that Cancer UK and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, our chosen charities for 2016, will be giving to understand the difference that we can make as a team to these amazing charities”.

Find out more about Martin House Hospice, Macmillan Cancer Support and the University of Leeds Charities.

Susan Broadbent Gravatar


Running up muddy slopes, leaping over flaming beams and wading through 10 tonnes of ice and water isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of fine dining chefs.

So you can imagine my surprise when I found out that eight members of our MEETinLEEDS catering team were participating in this year’s Leeds Total Warrior obstacle race on June 28th. I myself have participated in 15k runs and a little cross country before, but 30 obstacles crammed into 12k sounds like a far greater challenge.

Local Charity Events

So too thinks Marc Mottershead, head chef of MEETinLEEDS. The team has taken part in similar obstacle courses before, such as X-runner and Tough Mudder, and they keep their eye out for new courses to run full on for charity.
“We try to keep it local, though, so everyone can have a chance to take part.”

“The exciting thing is the change in team dynamics … In the kitchen, I’m the boss, but for this course, Phil is in charge of the team”

70% of Total Warrior’s entry fees go toward a number of charities, and organisers welcome participants fundraising for a charity of their own choosing. Whilst Phill Tostevin, Second Chef, has run for charities including Cancer Research in the past, this time the team are donating all their proceeds to Martin House Children’s Hospice.

Whilst running for charity is part of the motivation behind the grueling obstacle course, there are other objectives behind catering’s participation. When asked what they were looking forward to both Marc and Phil grinned and the lines “watching people suffer and getting really muddy” might have been said.

“The exciting thing is the change in team dynamics” explains Marc. “In the kitchen, I’m the boss, but for this course, Phil is in charge of the team.”

“It means we get to see each other in a different light, outside of the workplace environment and that’s a great way to get to know each other better.” Phil adds.

Preparation and Diet Changes

With only one more month to go, for now the participants are preparing for Total Warrior by running through Hyde Park on their breaks, changing their diet accordingly and generally keeping fit.

Will the team achieve their fundraising target of £500? Will they live to tell the tale? And will Phill be destined to scrub dishes for the rest of his life after putting the team through its paces? In any case, we’ll be rooting for them and sponsoring them on their arduous trek.

Fundraising, healthy team building through friendly competition and some role reversal, there seems to be so much to gain for your pain. One day maybe I should also trade in my athletics jersey for a ragged T-shirt (or costume!) and give it a shot, too!