Hundreds turn out for Keighley fundraising event after tragic death of four-year-old Riley Turner

Event organisers Toni Shipley, Nadine Ward and Emma McDonnell with the signed Bradford City shirt

Riley Turner, who died last month

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

Hundreds of people touched by the tragic death of four-year-old Keighley twin Riley Turner turned out to a fundraising event at the weekend that generated thousands of pounds for his devastated family.

Organisers of the auction at the Bracken Arms pub, not far from where Riley lived on the town’s Bracken Bank estate, said they were overwhelmed by the response.

Keighley Mayor Councillor George Metcalf, who helped count the funds, which look set to top £7,000, praised people’s “fantastic community spirit” following Riley’s death, for which a 32-year-old man has been charged with murder.

Signed Bradford City shirts, a signed Leeds United flag, Manchester United memorabilia and a moped were among the 160 lots – which also included a shirt worn by Keighley pool champion Chris Melling at the recent Mosconi Cup final.

Donations of lots and raffle prizes came from businesses and organisations close to home but also further afield from Skipton, Ilkley, Bradford and Leeds.

One woman in Australia sent a cash donation after reading about the fundraiser on its Facebook event page.

A local butcher provided pies for the event.

Toni Shipley got together with her friends Emma McDonnell and Nadine Ward to organise the auction and raffle day as a way for the horrified community to show its support for Riley’s family.

“We’ve all been touched by what happened and felt helpless, but the fundraiser was one way we could at least do something to try and help Riley’s family at this terrible time,” said Miss Shipley.

It was the community’s first chance to show united sympathy since Riley’s death on January 20 at his home in Harewood Road, where he lived with his identical twin brother Kenzie, mother Sharon Smith, and stepfather, Guy Earwaker.

Speaking at the fundraiser on Saturday afternoon, Miss Shipley, 25, said: “We didn’t expect the event to be so big, but people have just kept giving and just kept turning up.

“This is a close-knit community where everyone knows everyone, there’s lots of people from the estate, but there are as many faces we’ve never seen before, which just shows how people from all over the district have been moved and affected by what happened.”

Coun Metcalf, who was at the auction, returned yesterday to help organisers count the takings.

He said: “I’m very honoured to have been involved in this fundraiser and support these girls who have organised it and done a brilliant job. The community spirit that has been generated here to rally round and help Riley’s family is fantastic.”

Anwar Rosser, 32, of Harewood Road, who has been charged with Riley’s murder, has been remanded in custody to appear before Bradford Crown Court in April for a plea hearing.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree