New home needed for Thorpe St Andrew charity stalwart’s fundraising companions

A giant Winnie the Pooh and a home-made Thomas the Tank Engine helped champion fundraiser William Bradley collect more than �150,000 for charity before he died earlier this year.

And now Mr Bradley's family is looking for a new home for his beloved fundraising companions that he took with him to the many supermarkets, DIY stores and garden centres he visited over his 17-year career as a volunteer fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Mr Bradley, of Furze Road, Thorpe St Andrew, started his fundraising for the trust after his granddaughter Natalie Bradley was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, and his tireless efforts to raise the profile of the charity and boost its funds meant he became a well-known face across Norfolk with his travelling band of toys.

He recycled all sorts of materials to make his popular Thomas the Tank Engine model, and the giant Winnie the Pooh joined his fundraising team after it was donated to him by a shopper who saw him out with his collection bucket one day.

Mr Bradley's grandson Carl Bradley, 26, from Mulbarton, said: 'We hope they will go to a good home where people are going to enjoy them and look after them.'

He also said that the whole family would like to thank everybody that had contributed to Mr Bradley's fundraising of �152,420 over the years.

'Thank you to all of the supermarkets, garden centres and DIY stores, and every single person who ever put money in his collection pot,' said Carl, adding that his grandfather's legacy continued to live on as �622 was raised in donations at Mr Bradley's funeral, and a further �780 was raised from a fundraising day at Waitrose in Eaton in his memory.

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He said the family – including Mr Bradley's wife Joan and their three children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren – had also been very touched by the amount of sympathy cards and the support they had received from people following Mr Bradley's death in February, aged 86.

Mr Bradley died peacefully at his home after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Carl said: 'Thank you to the whole of Norfolk for the support and kindness shown by people.

'Granddad was such an inspiration. He was my inspiration. He is the person that showed me how to reach for the stars.'

Anybody interested in giving a new home to either the Thomas the Tank Engine model, which is 1.2 metres long, or the Winnie the Pooh, which is 1.3 metres high, should call Carl on 07810 263938 or email

For more information about CFT, visit

Are you involved in an unusual charity fundraising event? Call EVening News reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email

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