Staff, volunteers and supporters of HARP have been shocked and saddened by the death of Noel Kelleway, a passionate supporter of our charity who passed away recently following a short illness.
Noel is a co-founder of HARP24, our annual 24-hour relay challenge, which started in 2012 and is still going strong. The event has grown from 35 participants in 2012 to 470 in 2019, raising over £105,000 for HARP’s work helping local people to overcome homelessness for good.
Noel’s enthusiasm for the event, which runs for a 24-hour period from midday to midday, and his support and dedication throughout the weekend has been an inspiration to everyone involved.
Jackie Bliss, HARP’s Chief Executive, said: “We are extremely grateful to Noel for everything he has done to raise HARP’s profile amongst the local community, and to make HARP24 the success it is today. He will be greatly missed, not just as a fundraiser and supporter of our work, but also as a friend to many of our staff, volunteers and supporters. Our thoughts are with Noel’s family and friends.”
Noel’s absence will be particularly felt at future HARP24 events, where he was a great motivator of other race participants and volunteers, as well as a keen runner himself. He also supported HARP through his involvement with Essex Community Foundation, enabling us to continue to grow our work tackling local homelessness.
Attendees at HARP’s annual fundraising dinner also enjoyed his performance as auctioneer, where he used his personality and playful nature to cheekily encourage higher bids in support of HARP’s work.
Dina Jobson, HARP’s Fundraising Manager, paid tribute to Noel: “Noel has been a huge encouragement and support to myself and the fundraising team ever since I started working for HARP four years ago. I always enjoyed our meetings and saw Noel as a mentor as well as a friend. He has a special place in my heart and I will miss him dearly.”
Messages have been streaming in from HARP24 participants:
“Mr HARP24. A real character and always made me smile.”
“HARP24 won’t be the same without him. So very sad.”
“Oh gosh, how terribly sad. He was such a presence and a character at HARP24! Such a lovely man.”
“Sad news indeed… such a fun guy at HARP24. He was so encouraging and enthusiastic.”
[Photo by Andrew Kenyon: Noel Kelleway running HARP24]