A couple who have raised £67,500 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance in the last 10 years are hoping to be back out at fundraising events later this year.
In a normal year Jan and Peter Swallow, of Honley, would be manning stalls at fairs and galas around West Yorkshire selling knitted and craft-made gift items.
But last year, with events cancelled, Jan had to rely on her Facebook page J2 Crafts and word-of-mouth among friends to raise money.
Even though there were no events to attend Jan still raised £6,300 for the air ambulance, mainly through making face masks. In total they made 2,500.
“It’s been a frustrating time but we’ve carried on making things during lockdown. If we didn’t I think we would have gone stir crazy,” said Jan, 63.
“Last year we didn’t do a single event where usually we would be going all around West Yorkshire. The VW Festival at Harewood House in Leeds is our biggest event and one year we took £1,600 in two-and-a-half days.”
Jan and Peter, a big Huddersfield Town fan, started supporting Yorkshire Air Ambulance after their son Graham Chaplin, 30, died after a motorbike accident on the Snake Pass in May 2007. Graham was airlifted to hospital but later died.
Peter, 68, has raised money through Huddersfield Town’s Keep it Up campaign and in 2010 Jan and mum Jean set up J2 Crafts. They make all kinds of things from knitted Easter chicks to peg bags, Huddersfield Town shopping bags to bibs, oven gloves to stuffed Star Wars toys.
Jan said the air ambulance was a fabulous charity that meant so much to people.
She added: “The air ambulance gave Graham the best chance he could have had and you always want to pay back.
“Doing what we do is a coping mechanism as well as something that keeps me busy.”
Jan, Jean and their other makers have been prolific during lockdown and Jan now has £5,000-worth of stock in the loft!
Jan and Peter hope to set their stall out again this summer and have a couple of events in the diary, starting with Huddersfield Tractor Fest at Upper Heaton on July 24.
YAA regional fundraising manager Jenny Jones said: “Our volunteers are at the heart of our charity and are vital to help all our fundraising activities across Yorkshire.
“Jan and Peter Swallow are true heroes and commit so much of their time to help fundraise for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and to date have nearly raised £70,000!
“They are very much part of the YAA family and have now been volunteering for nearly 10 years. We can’t express our thanks enough to our wonderful supporters and volunteers and we thank you for helping to save lives across Yorkshire.”
To support Jan and Yorkshire Air Ambulance search for J2 Crafts on Facebook.