Morecambe's 'Sootyman' smashes half-million pound lifetime target


February 04, 2020

A popular Morecambe fundraiser has reached his goal of raising half a million pounds for blind people before he dies.

Keith Ainsworth, who has terminal cancer, achieved his target on Tuesday after devoting 35 years to raising money for the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

Keith is known as 'The Sootyman' because over the years, he became closely associated with distributing RNIB collection boxes around the town in the shape of the popular children's TV character Sooty.

He received the good news that his JustGiving page had raised the final £10,000 at St John's Hospice in Lancaster where he is receiving care.

“It’s important to me to fundraise for a charity where money is spent locally," he said.

"Local fundraising for local charities is really important – look at St John’s Hospice, which is funded by people from across the area – they’ve been absolutely marvellous, they can’t do enough for you and as for the soups and the sweet trolley – just brilliant.

“Sight loss is something that has hit me hard over the years, I miss my driving but most of all I miss being able to watch the football and cricket."

Over the years Keith has raised funds for the RNIB in creative ways including sky diving and organising bus pulls.

Photo courtesy of St John's Hospice Facebook page.