When Jane Morgan discovered her much-loved mum, Ellen Timney, was dying from cancer she vowed to do something extraordinary in her name.
Eleven years on, married mum-of-two Jane is the driving force behind the Ellen Timney Foundation that donates up to £25,000 a year to the help most sick and underprivileged Teesside children.
The charity helps out nearly 3,000 Teesside children a year, providing Christmas gifts to around 600 of the area’s most impoverished youngsters.
Now Jane has been honoured with a Teesside Hero Award in recognition of her ongoing dedication to the area’s sick and disadvantaged children.
A teaching assistant at St Joseph’s Primary School in Norton, she received her surprise award from Paul Drake of Stockton-based Sapere Software, one of Teesside Philanthropic Foundation’s newest patrons.
“I don’t feel I deserve such an award in any way,” said Jane, who lives at Fishburn Airfield, near Sedgefield.
“Winning this has made me think about what mam would have made about all of this going on in her name. I think she’d have been totally overwhelmed.
Ellen passed away 11 years ago next month when, having beaten breast cancer, she was diagnosed with cancer of the brain, spine, chest, bones and lungs.
Following her terminal diagnosis, family friend Ron Darby vowed to start a charity in Ellen’s name, with Jane and dad Tony helping to launch the Ellen Timney Foundation.
Along with trustee Robert Hardy, Jane and Tony continue to give up much of their spare-time to raise funds for Teesside children in need, with their annual ball at Hardwick Hall proving hugely successful.
More recently a successful annual golf day at Ramside Hall has been a big hit, while Santander, Barclaycard, NETA Training Group and Hays Travel in Sedgefield have all been hugely supportive.
Much of the money raised funds a Christmas appeal, with the charity working with many local schools to provide gifts for hundreds of the region’s poorest children.
Asked why she does it, Jane admitted: “I do sometimes wonder! Dad and other volunteers do work really hard too and we do wonder if we’ve done enough – but then more requests for help come in and we realise we can’t stop.
“Whether it’s for Christmas gifts or for beds, clothes, school trips, prams or medical equipment, there’s a real need out there.
“It’s often heart-breaking to hear the stories of local children who’ve gone through such horrific times.
“Ultimately, we started the charity to keep alive my mam’s name because she touched so many hearts – everyone seemed to love her as soon as they met her, so we’ll keep going as long as the money keeps coming in.”
Jane’s award from Teesside Philanthropic Foundation included a trophy, a voucher donated by Chadwicks Inn at Maltby and £1,000 for charity, which she has chosen to share between CAUSE Christmas Hamper Campaign and Remembering Rebecca, a charity run by her fellow Teesside Hero Gemma Sands, who nominated her for the accolade.