Funeral directors hand out almost £20,000 to community causes

Jackie Donaldson from John Blenkiron & Sons Funeral Directors present a grant to Richmond Bowls Club

Richmondshire funeral directors have gifted close to £20,000 to good causes as part of their first ever community fund.

The John Blenkiron & Sons’ community fund has supported more than a dozen charities since its launch earlier this year, all of which are located within a three-mile radius of John Blenkiron & Sons Funeral Directors’ branches in Richmond, Barnard Castle and Catterick.

Among the latest groups to be helped are sporting organisations Richmond Town Football Club and its under 16 girls’ team, who were awarded £1,000 for new kit and equipment, and Richmond Bowls Club who were given £800 to fund a new water tank for their green.

The fund has also supported Friends of Lazer Cheer, a cheerleading troop based in Catterick that received £1,000 to support their bid for the Girls Sport Summit in 2024, while Colburn Community Sports Centre successfully applied for the same amount to help fund a new sensory room.

There were also a host of other beneficiaries including Dementia Forward, who applied for help to renovate their day garden, and Richmondshire Museum where the team are looking to increase their engagement with local families with special projects.

Senior funeral director Rebekah Elliott, who has been co-ordinating the fund, said it had been amazing to present cheques to so many deserving recipients.

“It has been amazing to support all of the charities and organisations this year,” she said.

“I have really enjoyed learning about the incredible things that are happening in the communities we serve, and am so impressed by the tireless work and dedication the people behind these causes put in.

“The grants will help support hundreds of people in our local area, so I hope we can continue to build these relationships.”

James Blenkiron, who is business principal for the funeral directors that was established by his father back in 1968, is equally inspired.

“My father would have been so proud of this initiative – and it has been an absolute pleasure doing it in his name.

“It’s been incredibly rewarding for everyone involved to be able to give something back.”

This Christmas, the team at the funeral directors will be lighting The John Blenkiron Memorial tree at their branch in Queens Road, Richmond, and are inviting the community to place a memorial bauble on it dedicated to a loved one at a special festive gathering on December 14 at 6.30pm.

Guests can enjoy mince pies, listen to a local choir perform carols and there will be a remembrance screen featuring the names of lost loved ones.

If you would like to attend, please contact the team in Richmond by calling 01748 898720.