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VISIT HELMSLEY NEWS • Updated , 5:22 pm

Helmsley sawmill raffles off handmade gate with a star-studded history for local charity

Duncombe Sawmill raffling off larch wood gate used at Stella McCartney show for York Teaching Hospital Charity

A Helmsley business is raffling off an item with a celebrity past to help raise money for the York Teaching Hospital Charity.

Six years ago the talented joiners at Helmsley’s Duncombe Sawmill were asked to create a gate to be used as part of a star-studded Stella McCartney launch during London Fashion Week. Stars in attendance at the 2014 London Stella McCartney Green Carpet Collection included Samuel L Jackson, Paul McCartney, Rita Ora, Colin Firth, Drew Barrymore, Alexa Chung and Ellie Goulding.

Duncombe Sawmill was asked by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to create a wooden gate for a Forest Room display, which all attendees walked through to get to the fashion show. The gate, one of Duncombe Sawmill’s most popular designs, was crafted in larch from a local woodland just outside Helmsley. It was made by hand using traditional techniques by two of the Sawmill’s joiners, who have worked at the firm for the last 30 years.

Now the Sawmill is raffling off the five-foot wide, five bar gate, which can be delivered free anywhere across the UK, to raise money for the York Teaching Hospital Charity. The charity helps to fund extras to improve healthcare facilities at eight local hospitals, as well as supporting NHS staff. Patients receiving treatment now and in the future at York Hospital, Scarborough Hospital, Malton Hospital, Bridlington Hospital, New Selby War Memorial Hospital, St Helen’s & White Cross Court Rehabilitation Hospitals and St Monica’s in Easingwold benefit from money raised. An online raffle ticket costs just £5 and will be available until the end of May. Tickets can be bought at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/duncombesawmill

Based in Helmsley for over 100 years, Duncombe Sawmill is FSC certified which means that the timber they sell is sustainably and legally cut down, and the majority is from woodland within Ryedale. The sawmill supplies gates and fencing to consumers and businesses, as well as the North York Moors National Park, Forestry Commission and Environment Agency.

Emma Woods, owner of the Duncombe Sawmill, said: “I think we’re all in awe of what the NHS is doing at the moment and we were keen to do something to try and raise money. The plan was always to raffle the gate for a good cause, so it seemed the perfect time to raise money for something which we’re all appreciating now more than ever. If people do feel able to buy a ticket, it’s a chance to win a gate worth well over £300, with a wonderful story behind it, for just £5. We’ve had lots of orders for garden gates and fences over the last few weeks as people try to make the most of their outdoor space so hopefully this can be a useful addition for someone. And they can tell everyone that numerous well-known celebrities have walked through it!”

Tallulah Chapman, communications manager at FSC UK, said: “The need to source forest products responsibly touches many different industries and products from gates to garments. It’s great to see FSC certificate holder Duncombe Sawmill demonstrating their social conscience and exemplifying the best (re)use of forest products, not just through their 10+ years of certification but also by auctioning their fashion-famous, FSC-certified gate for our NHS.”


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