Bradford

Wakefield charity founder 'humbled' at MBE

Brian Hazell
Image caption Brian Hazell collects money from parishioners at his Wakefield church every Sunday

A man who has raised more than £630,000 to help children in Ethiopia says he is "humbled" at being made an MBE in the New Year Honours list.

Brian Hazell, 77, from Wakefield, started The Suzy Fund after seeing a picture of a starving girl 35 years ago.

Since 1975 he has stood outside his church every Sunday, collecting money in a sweet tin.

Mr Hazell said the real honour was for all the people who had helped him.

"I feel humbled, but proud as well," he said.

"But in a way I feel sad that you get a medal for doing the decent thing. The decent thing should be automatic."

Mr Hazell recalled seeing the picture of the starving girl in Ethiopia in 1975.

"I saw a photo in the paper of this girl in a rubbish dump.

£1m target

"Her parents had put her there, not because they didn't love her but because they couldn't feed her, and they thought someone would take pity.

"I read that 10p could save her life and thought there must be some way I could help."

Mr Hazell began collecting 10p every week from parishioners at his church, and says he is now raising about £500 every week.

The roofing contractor, who is married with six children and 11 grandchildren, said his target was to raise £1m for the charity.

Other people in West Yorkshire receiving honours include Kevan Baker, the chairman of the WheelPower charity, which helps people with disabilities improve their quality of life.

Mr Baker, from Wakefield, is appointed a CBE for voluntary service to disability sports.

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