Team Eagley Bank hailed as 'homegrown heroes'
A CARING Bolton couple at the heart of a community group raising thousands of pounds each year for local, national and international causes have been hailed “homegrown heroes”.
Team Eagley Bank was the brainchild of Maureen Heggie who started it with a group of neighbours around The Gardens where she has lived with husband, Jimmy, for the past 24 years.
“They really are a remarkable couple,” said local councillor Hilary Fairclough.
“They care about other people and actively bring the community together.”
Mr Heggie, now aged 63, has been wheelchair-bound since he was paralysed by a bullet in the chest while serving as a soldier in Northern Ireland.
He was a patient in a spinal unit in Leeds where Maureen, then a student nurse, was a volunteer and they later married. The couple moved to Bolton and Mrs Heggie was a nurse at the Royal Bolton Hospital for 25 years.
Much of that time as staff nurse and activities co-ordinator on the old J1 ward where she helped to dramatically improve the lives of elderly patients.
In 1999 she received a special caring award in the Bolton Woman of the Year awards.
But the couple have both been active over the years — Mr Heggie through the Bolton Bulls wheelchair basketball team where he is still involved in administration and coaching, and Mrs Heggie through Team Eagley Bank’s activities.
“The team started raising money in 2008 to help the Bolton Bulls,” recalled Mrs Heggie, who is 60 this year.
“But the idea was to ‘fun raise’ rather than ‘fund raise’ because we wanted people to come together and enjoy themselves as well. It’s just grown from there.”
This enjoyable fundraising continued to raise £3,500 to help survivors of the Asian Tsunami, then almost £4,000 for victims of the Sheffield floods.
Cash has since been raised for Bolton Mountain Rescue Team, the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and Bolton Dementia Support Group. So far during 2013, they have raised £3,350 for the Farnworth and Kearsley foodbank.
The 40-strong Team Eagley Bank also has a special group for youngsters, too. Activities range from garden parties and car-washes to vintage tea parties and sponsored cycle rides.
“But it’s the community spirit that is really more important,” explained Mrs Heggie.
“People watch out for each other, water their gardens, collect items for them, go shopping and care about each other. It is like an extended family.”
Team Eagley Bank has a diverse membership of all ages.
As Cllr Fairclough stated: “They do a fantastic job of raising money to help the area and beyond, but they do it without spending much money themselves.
“When you read about the bosses of major charities getting huge salaries and spending large amounts on campaigns this is just so different.
“Team Eagley Bank uses what they’ve got and what people have donated and all the money goes to the cause involved.
“Apart from that, there is a big social element where people come together to help others — and that is just so important today. People like Maureen and Jimmy Heggie really are homegrown heroes.”
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