A FUNDRAISER who has helped to raise millions of pounds for Wakefield Hospice will retire next month.
Terry Rigg, 68, joined the team part-time about 18 years ago, selling Hospice lottery tickets anywhere that would let him.
He soon became a full-time community fundraiser, networking with businesses and schools and organising events to help keep the charity alive.
Mr Rigg, of Mount Crescent, raised about £1.5m towards patient care through projects undertaken in the last five years alone.
But he said his age was the reason for retiring.
Mr Rigg said: “In the words of a Wrenthorpe Primary School pupil many years ago ‘the Hospice is truthfully a wonderful place’.
“I wonder where the time has gone, but I have loved every minute. I am sad to be leaving but all good things come to an end.”
A keen organiser of celebrity dinners, Mr Rigg has brought sporting goliaths George Best, Bobby Robson, Stirling Moss, Henry Cooper and Steve Davis to the area.
Just last month he secured Sir Ranulph Fiennes as a dinner guest, a man he described as “an absolute giant among men and very nice too”.
Mr Rigg said nurses had persuaded him to dress up as Elvis for next month’s Hospice Midnight Walk, as a grand fundraising finale.
He said: “There have been too many people who have made my job easy, willing to sponsor events, donate prizes or just attend on every occasion when asked.
“I would like to thank everyone at the Hospice for their friendship and support, and hope that the people of Wakefield continue with their much needed support.”
A special bed of scented floribunda roses were planted in Thornes Park last November to commemmorate 20 years of the hospice.
And the unique roses, called Wakefield Hospice Sunrise Roses, are now in bloom.
Mr Rigg said: “They look fantastic.
“They have proved to be quite popular as gifts.”
Director of patient services Karen Crawshaw the good relationships Mr Rigg has built with local businesses and community groups will continue to benefit the charity long into his retirement.
She said: “Terry will be sorely missed. He has been a fantastic member of staff and he has got a lot of friends here.”
Wakefield Hospice must raise £7,220 a day to continue providing services to terminally-ill patients.