She’s been a stalwart for Doncaster charities for a generation – and now she can drive her sheep down High Street with Ben Parkinson!
Yvonne Woodcock, who has been one of the driving forces behind organisations including the Doncaster Cancer Detection Trust, has been handed the Freedom of Doncaster at a ceremony at Mansion House.
The accolade is the highest honour that a local resident can receive from Doncaster Council and recognises their achievements and work in the Doncaster community.
She was presented with a framed hand painted scroll at a special ceremony in the Mansion House, which was also attended by the Civic Mayor Majid Khan and Jo Miller, Doncaster Council Chief Executive, and a number of freemen of Doncaster including wounded war hero Ben Parkinson.
Yvonne served as a Doncaster councillor for over 20 years and was Civic Mayor in 1998/99, during which time she raised over £20,000 for her chosen charities.
She works with many charities and community groups in a voluntary capacity, opening her own home and garden on many occasions to raise funds.
Yvonne, aged 76, still volunteers in Finningley and serves on the Airport Committee as an honorary member and volunteer, and also attends the Cantley Community Centre Committee and regularly assists with events. She was also the main fundraiser for the Royal British Legion’s Annual Poppy Appeal in that area, raising thousands each year for that charity.
She also spends a lot of time helping at the Mansion House as a longstanding and active member of the Friends of The Mansion House group. She is also involved in Doncaster Minster and Doncaster Cultural Leisure Trust, becoming an honorary member when she stood down as a councillor and remaining a DCLT Board Member, and is also a trustee for Doncaster Cancer Detection Trust.
Coun chief executive Jo Miller told her: “Last year Doncaster Council unanimously decided to bestow the freedom of the borough on you.” She joked: “It is the highest honour the council can give, and you will have the right to take your sheep down the High Street with the other freemen! You can perhaps do that together.”
Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “Yvonne’s fantastic work for the residents of Doncaster deserves recognition. She puts her heart and soul into helping others and the scale of her fundraising achievements over the years is amazing.
“There is no doubt that her dedication and selflessness has made a huge difference to the lives of many people.”
Yvonne said: "This is a very proud moment and I would like to thank those who have nominated me for this very special recognition as well as everyone who has supported my fundraising projects.
“It is a great honour and privilege to receive such a wonderful award for something I truly enjoy doing – helping others.
“I started out peeling potatoes in my parents cafe at the age of 16. I’m still doing that at the Mansion House as a volunteer at the age of 76.”