Theatre couple take the Suzy Fund spotlight

Brian Hazell with Monica and Paul Haley who will take over the running of the Suzy Fund charity

Brian Hazell with Monica and Paul Haley who will take over the running of the Suzy Fund charity

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The founder of a charity which has raised more than £750,000 for children around the world is stepping down as its leader.

Former councillor Brian Hazell set up The Suzy Fund in 1975 when he saw a newspaper photograph of a child who had died from starvation in Ethiopia.

Firm in his belief that pennies really do make pounds, he asked the parishioners of the St Peter and Paul in Sandal to make donations of as little as 10p a week. The money went to help good causes including hospitals in India and Africa, feeding stations in Ethiopia, the Pakistani flood appeal and more recently victims of the conflict in Syria, to which the charity sent £10,000.

Mr Hazell, received an MBE for charitable services overseas in 2011, and after turning 80 last Saturday, he is keen to pass on the fundraising baton.

He said: “I’m not getting any younger and my accountant recently pointed out that the charity would die with me if anything happened, unless I started sharing the responsibility of it with others who would be in a position to carry it on if the inevitable should happen.

“I’m not retiring, just taking a back seat. I do feel sad because the charity has been like my right arm. I worry as much about it, as I do about my six kids.

“At the beginning I made a simple plea for people to donate 10p a week forever. We’re raising £1,000 per week through lots of small donations of anything people can afford to give, and I will do what it takes to keep the charity going.”

Paul and Monica Haley of Heron Drive, who have been volunteering for the cause since its inception, were only too happy to help.

The 63-year-olds, who are involved with Wakefield Little Theatre, will run the charity under Mr Hazell’s guidance.

Mr Haley is a retired structural engineer and his wife retired as headteacher of St John the Baptist School in Normanton in 2008.

To find out more about the Suzy Fund visit www.suzyfund.org