IT was an eye-catching sight that would not have looked out of place in The Italian Job - a fleet of branded Mini cars snaking their way around the roads of Yorkshire.
The convoy was playing a starring role in a charity delivery with a difference, helping children from across the county with life-limiting illnesses and their families to enjoy a special festive panto together while they spend Christmas in a hospice.
Staff from across every part of Linley & Simpson, the residential sales and letting agent, have been collecting unwanted goods on behalf of Martin House Childrens Hospice, their adopted charity of the year, throughout November.
They included colleagues from all 11 of its High Street branches across North and West Yorkshire, plus head office staff in Leeds and the central teams working in renewals, accounts, property management and operations.
Their aim was to turn the clutter into cash - and used Giving Tuesday as the day to deliver all the donated items, worth an estimated £1,000, to the charitys warehouse at Thorp Arch in style. The goods will now be sold off throughout the charitys Yorkshire shops in the build up to Christmas.
Eight cars, each crammed with bags and boxes of goods, performed an eye-catching drive-past the branch network as they travelled in convoy to pick up the stock en route to the drop-off point.
All the agencys offices - Leeds city centre, Roundhay, Horsforth, Chapel Allerton, Harrogate, Ripon, York, Wetherby, Ilkley, Saltaire and Wakefield played their part by acting as collection points for any winter clothes, textiles, toys, books, Christmas decorations, DVDs and other bric-a-brac.
There was an overwhelming response to our first ever stock appeal not just from the Linley & Simpson family who work here, but also from the wider community, said Emily Wilkinson, who heads up the agencys charity and community projects.
As well as the eight drivers, we also had three additional staff volunteering at the warehouse to offer extra pairs of hands to help sort the stock we dropped off.
The convoy certainly caught the imagination of other motorists and passers-by and hopefully also promoted greater awareness of the hospice and the amazing work its team does for families across Yorkshire.
Linley & Simpson has set itself a target of raising £25,000 for Martin House within 12 months and is already off to a flying start with a range of initiatives since it launched in September. These have included:
- A raffle where staff could win a weeks extra holiday, raising £1,000
- An inter-office Great Linley and Simpson Bake Off competition, cooking up £740
- Staff member Becky Lane, from its Horsforth branch, running the Yorkshire Marathon and raising over £700
- Staff volunteering on Christmas Card stalls at Wetherby Morrisons, Bradford Morrisons, Wetherby Market and Ripon market raising £1,850
- Staff selling tickets for the Martin House Christmas Raffle raising over £500
In addition, the company is donating £1 for every Customer Satisfaction survey that are completed with £500 pledged so far.
There is no let-up in the final weeks of 2016 with the annual office Christmas jumper competition taking place on December 16; and the donation and decoration of a Christmas tree for the hospice all thanks to the agencys partnership with Harrogate-based The Garden Keeper.
Staff will also be demonstrating they have the X-mas Factor at the Airedale Centre in Keighley, where they will be dressing up as Santa and elves to bring some ho-ho-ho to the childrens grotto to raise money for Martin House.
Around 40 staff over a quarter of the workforce have already taken time to volunteer in aid of the hospice with others planning to follow suit.
Every year, Martin House cares for and supports more than 400 local children with life-limiting illnesses, and their families, both through the life of the child and into bereavement.
Its Head of Retail, Vicki Burnett said: "We were thrilled to see such fantastic stock donated to our shops thanks to Linley & Simpson's efforts.
The donations delivered to our warehouse on Giving Tuesday will raise around £1,000 - enough to bring a magical festive pantomime to our families staying at the hospice.
We have been privileged to have worked with Linley & Simpson over the past months, and their volunteering has helped us during one of the busiest times of the year.
Members of the team have been friendly, enthusiastic and perfectly in tune with Martin House's caring ethos. They have been a pleasure to work with.
Thank you to all of the customers who donated items at branches across the region and to the members of the team who loaded and unloaded the many bags and boxes of donated stock."