A FUNDRAISING event in memory of a loving family man and keen sportsman who died suddenly during lockdown at the age of 60 has raised over £5,500 for the British Heart Foundation charity.

Charlie James was born in Leamington Spa in 1959. After completing business studies at Yeovil College his family moved to Grassington and Charlie began his career with Barclays Bank as a cashier in the Skipton branch in 1979. It was here he met his wife, Jenny.

Charlie progressed through various roles and became branch manager in Bingley in 1996 and held several management roles in Cross Hills, Keighley and Skipton, spending the final years of his career prior to retirement at the Keighley branch.

Charlie was renowned for a wicked sense of humour and easy-going nature; making many friends over the years.

He was involved in the community and mentored students at local schools,supported interfaith community events and helped raise funds for computers in the Bangladeshi community. He was also instrumental in helping create a sensory garden at Manorlands.

A keen runner and cyclist, he completed the Edinburgh Marathon and London Marathon twice for various charities. In 2017 following his retirement, he cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats along with his close friend Peter Beresford raising £5,000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Charlie died suddenly and unexpectedly on April 20, 2020. As this was the start of lockdown only five people could attend his funeral and there was no wake.

His family, therefore, recently organised 'The Party That No One Wants To Go To' to give Charlie the send off he deserved and also raise money for the British Heart Foundation. The party was held at Embsay Village Hall and his family are pleased to announce that £5,550 was raised during the evening. The family has sent out a heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make the evening such a success, from help in the bar to selling raffle tickets, to everyone who donated raffle prizes, especially when times are tough at the moment.

Jenny James and her daughters Sarah and Katie, and grandson Elliott, met with Leya Batsh, BHF fundraising manager for North Yorkshire and County Durham, to hand her the cheque.

Leya said: “We are very humbled that the James family chose to support the British Heart Foundation after the tremendously sad loss of Charlie James.

“The incredible amount raised by friends and family will allow our scientists to look for the next breakthrough that can improve the prevention, treatment and cure of heart and circulatory diseases."