THE outgoing Mayor of Kirklees is celebrating after smashing a charity fundraising record.
Clr Eric Firth has collected more than £100,000 for the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice at Brackenhall – more than double the previous record.
The Labour man, who handed over the chain of office this week, said: “It’s been phenomenal that so many people have got behind the charity.
“I really do appreciate it on behalf of the children who will benefit.”
Clr Firth has already brought in more than £100,000 and hopes to reach £120,000 when all the money from his year in office is collected.
The previous record was held by his Labour colleague Clr Jean Calvert, who raised £52,000 for the same cause in 2007/08.
Clr Firth, who represents Dewsbury East, said he was surprised at how much had been raised right across the council area.
“It’s a high-profile charity in south Kirklees and people have been collecting for it for years in the Huddersfield area,” he said.
“But I was surprised how much money I raised in north Kirklees because people knew little about the charity.
“The response from schools was wonderful. Golcar St John’s raised nearly £2,000 and I’m going to collect a cheque for £870 from Shaw Cross Infants in Dewsbury.”
Clr Firth, who will be 65 next month, said the highlight of his fundraising year was the abseil off the University of Huddersfield’s Central Services Building in March.
“Some people had told me I was too old to do that sort of thing,” he said.
“If I ever do it again I’ll wear gloves because my hands were pretty warm when I got to the bottom!
“But I really enjoyed the experience and there were so many people from different walks of life who took part.
“Everybody had a good time and we raised a lot of money. The cash is still dribbling in from that.”
Clr Firth also organised a charity ball at Dewsbury Town Hall in March as well as an evening of dance and a concert hosted by the Soroptimists at Huddersfield Town Hall to help the hospice.
Clr Firth handed over the chain of office on Wednesday to Clr David Ridgway.
The Colne Valley Lib Dem will raise money for the Yorkshire Regiment Benevolent Fund during his year in office.