Charity Champion or Volunteer of the Year nominee – Ada Haywood BEM
Former potbank worker Ada Haywood BEM has raised more than £1.4million for Cancer Research UK during decades of fundraising.
The 71-year-old, who made clay handles at Steelite for 32 years, organises an annual Pink Tie Ball and can often be found collecting money in supermarkets.
She still gets up at 5.30am to attend business networking meetings to promote her charity work and her loyal supporters ensure tickets for her ball are usually sold out within days.
In 2018 Ada was awarded the British Empire Medal and in 2022 she was a baton carrier for the Queen’s Baton Relay despite having a broken shoulder.
Cancer Research UK has named a room in its London HQ in honour of Ada and her late husband.
“I don’t do it for these awards,” she said. “I do it because I love it and I love driving people crazy with it. It’s a 24/7 thing for me. I even do it in my sleep.
“I’m sure people give me money to get rid of me. They think ‘it’s her again’ and ‘give her something and she’ll go away’.”
Ada, from Clayton in Newcastle-under-Lyme, started her fundraising after a neighbour’s wife died from breast cancer at the age of 35.
“We set up a committee but it was only me and it’s still only me. Because it’s voluntary nobody else wants to do it.”
Ada also fundraises in honour of her late husband, Peter, who had been determined that she should continue after his death.
She said: “Peter was the most amazing man. He wanted me to carry on, not to stop. If I don’t do it nobody will do it. I can’t give up.”
Ada has been nominated as a Charity Champion or Volunteer of the Year in the Your Heroes Awards by Nigel Howle, who knows Ada through business networking meetings.
He said: “Ada is a fundraising phenomenon. She gets up at 5.30am every Thursday and Friday to attend BNI business networking meetings to promote her efforts.
“It’s fair to say that business networking friends are in awe of Ada and regularly rally round to support her efforts.”
Ada’s next Pink Tie Ball will be at the DoubleTree by Hilton at Festival Park on September 16.