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Balloons aid hospice fund

Thousands of balloons will give a lift to the biggest fund-raising campaign in a newspaper group’s history.

South Yorkshire Newspapers is trying to raise £1m for an extension to a hospice in Doncaster.

This week, its flagship title, the Doncaster Free Press, began selling 7,500 balloons for £1 each in aid of the Millennium Million Appeal.

The balloons will be released at Doncaster Town Show on August 13 as the climax of celebrations of the paper’s 75th anniversary earlier this month.

The appeal was launched in June last year through the Free Press, the South Yorkshire Times – the group’s other paid-for title – and five frees: Doncaster Advertiser, Doncaster Courier, Goole and Thorne Courier, Mexborough Leader and The Entertainer.

The fund now stands at £390,000 and the aim is to raise £1m by the end of the year.

Major appeals are usually run only through the Free Press, which previously raised £100,000 both for a breast cancer unit and an NSPCC centre. But editor-in-chief Merrill Diplock said: “Because it was such a big campaign, I decided that one paper probably wasn’t enough.”

The appeal is run in conjunction with Doncaster Cancer Detection Trust, whose volunteers have organised many fund-raising events, but much of the cash has come from readers responding to the appeal with events ranging from coffee mornings to parachute jumps.

In April, junior reporter Andy McFarlane, ran the London Marathon and raised £1,100.

Doncaster’s immediate past mayor handed over £20,000 to the fund from her year in office in May and the new mayor has said she will donate half the charity cash raised during her term.

To read about the history of Doncaster Free Press, click here

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