A hospital has achieved double its £6,000 fundraising target which was set at the start of a maternity appeal on Mother’s Day last year.

The fundraiser, to pay for caring extra touches at the maternity department at Airedale Hospital, was backed by Calendar Girl Tricia Stewart and has now topped £12,000.

She said: “It’s great to see such support for the maternity appeal, having had both my children at Airedale, over 30 years ago. I have thoroughly enjoyed supporting the appeal over the past 12 months and wish the best of luck to the maternity unit for the future.”

The latest donation to the maternity unit was from newly formed Bingley Women’s Institute (BWI) members, who have knitted and crocheted dozens of woollen squares and sewn them together to create baby blankets for the appeal. Jag Picknett, president of BWI, said “It was a great honour to be able to hand these blankets over to support the maternity appeal. We were extremely impressed with the bereavement facilities and the new midwifery-led unit when we looked round.

“We are continuing to make blankets for the hospital and if anyone can donate 10x10 knitted squares to be made into blankets. These can be dropped off at the Little Yorkshire Gift Shop in Bingley.” Claire Mathews, head of midwifery at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The support we have had has been overwhelming and I would like to personally thank everyone who has helped us exceed our target. The money raised has helped us to furnish our bereavement suite and family room to make them more comfortable and homely for families using them.

“Although this initial maternity appeal has successfully reached its target, we still welcome any fundraisers or donations. Any money raised helps to enhance the experience of women, partners and babies using our unit.”

The appeal has had backing from local businesses including Utley restaurant Roland’s, which is continuing to support the maternity appeal throughout 2014; the Craiglands Hotel in Ilkley, and Whitakers of Skipton which supported a charity ball held in November last year and Victoria Mills in Saltaire who held a weekend tennis tournament in June. The BWIhas more than 100 members, and meets every second Monday of the month at 7.30pm at the Bradford & Bingley Social Club.