8:55am Tuesday 17th April 2012
A York-based mental-health charity is the proud owner of an autographed photograph of athletics legend Sir Roger Bannister CBE, but they had to do some legwork to get it.
York Mind has a small team of volunteers who write to celebrities and famous sports people to ask them if they would donate any memorabilia which the charity can sell to raise funds.
Fundraising manager Ian Savage said many people had donated autographed items including John Terry, Honor Blackman, Richard Wilson and Leigh Francis’s altar ego Keith Lemon. Hollywood star Sienna Miller sent a designer handbag a couple of years ago.
When the team wrote to legendary four-minute-mile record breaker Sir Roger Bannister however, they were surprised by his reply.
Ian said: “Sir Roger wrote us a very polite and apologetic response, to explain that he had long since run out of photographs to sign, and that at 83, he no longer found himself recognised in the street to be asked for his autograph. He did say, though, that if we were to send him a photo, he would be very happy to sign it.”
On receiving Sir Roger’s reply one of the volunteer fundraisers bought a copy of the iconic image of the athlete crossing the finishing line in 1954 as he became the first man ever to run a mile in under four minutes. Ian said the volunteer even paid for the photo from her own pocket.
He said: I’m really proud of our volunteers who give their time and go the extra mile themselves to raise money to help support our work with local people recovering from mental ill health.”
The charity expects to offer the prized item on the Ebay auction website in the next few weeks. In the meanwhile, offers can be made to York Mind on 01904 643364.
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