Yorkshire Post : 2019-12-09

NEWS : 8 : 8

NEWS

MONDAY DECEMBER 09 2019 YORKSHIRE POST 8 NEWS YP Apps For mobile and tablet, visit your app store @yorkshirep­ost Twitter Turning a ‘horrific loss’ into something wonderful An act of giving, sparked by the death of Claire Baskind’s mother, is helping hundreds Ruby Kitchen of children in hospital. reports. TRAPPED IN grief after the loss of her mother, Claire Baskind had been struck that she would never again be able to buy her a gift. On a whim, she spent the money on craft kits for children at a local hospice, to help keep her mother’s memory alive. Three years on, the idea has bloomed into something quite remarkable. This Christmas, hundreds of children at hospitals in Leeds are to be given presents, funded by goodwill. And for Mrs Baskind, a mother-of-two, from Alwoodley, it is the greatest gift of all. “I miss her so much,” said Mrs Baskind. “She loved children. Out of anything I could do, in a charitable sense, she would just be so happy about this. “This would be her ideal, giving children gifts at Christmas time, just to make them smile.” Mrs Baskind’s mother, Lena Shedlow, died in February 2016, at the age of 81. When her birthday passed in the October of that year, her daughter had felt adrift. “I used to love buying presents for her,” said Mrs Baskind. “Even when she was in hospital, she was ill for a very long time, and it just used to make her smile. “The loss of her was horrific, it was a massive turning point in my life and it devastated me. Come October, when I couldn’t buy her a present, I just felt so lost.” Mrs Baskind, using the money she would have spent on her mother, went shopping for small crafts, colouring books and felt tip pens. “That first collection I did was small, it was just £50, but it was what I would have spent on my mum,” she said. “It’s just grown and grown from there.” That first day, delivering a small pile of presents to Martin House Hospice, she had been astonished at how gratefully it was received. So she turned her efforts to a more dedicated approach. With the support of fellow fundraiser Elayne Peter, she created 250 gift bags for children at Leeds General Infirmary who would spend the festive period in hospital. Last year, it was hundreds of pounds worth of crafting materials to help children at Martin House Hospice make memories with their siblings. This year, with a flood of donations, more than 200 children at St James Hospital and 200 more at Leeds General Infirmary are to receive a special Christmas present. At Mrs Baskind’s home, children’s gifts cover every available surface. There are paint by numbers sets, jigsaws, jewellery sets and modelling clay. And dozens of hand-painted bags, all decorated with love hearts and flowers, and with messages of goodwill, from local Brownies, Guides and young groups. “At times like birthdays, and the festive time over Christmas and New Year, that’s when you miss your loved ones the most,” said Mrs Baskind, struck by the volume of donations. “I think people feel that when they are having a lovely, festive time, something like this is a good way of thinking of others and donating a small thing. “Grief is a hard thing. It makes you want to give back,” she adds. “Nobody wants to be in hospital over festive time, ideally they want to be at home with their families. “You just want to do something nice, just to make Christmas a little bit more special, and a little easier.” Grief is a hard thing. It makes you want to give a little something back. Claire Baskind bought presents for a hospice after her mum passed away. READER OFFER Unlock tax-free cash from your home witH tHE it TAx-FrEE CAsH to syEnD As you wisH No sontHly rEyAysEnts rEquirED KAintAin 100% HosE ownErsHiy1 Speak to one of our advisors for your free, no obligation quotation and to find out how much tax-free cash you can access to spend as you wish. They will explain how equity release could affect the amount of inheritanc­e you can leave and if your entitlemen­t to means-tested benefits could be affected now or in the future. 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