Guest Blog – Barnsley Pals Colours Project Half-way up the Fundraising Mountain


The Reverend Canon Stephen Race, Rector of St Mary’s Church, and Jane Ainsworth, Volunteer Co-ordinator of the Barnsley Pals Colours Project, are pleased to announce that they are now just over halfway towards their fundraising target to frame the two King’s Colours and conserve the 200 names on the First World War Memorial Pillar. This is thanks to the generosity of many individuals, groups and funders, most recently the approval of £5,000 from South Yorkshire Community Foundation (SYCF).

SYCF was founded in 1986 and has raised £28 million over the last 32 years to support voluntary and community groups in South Yorkshire. Their goal is to improve the lives of local people by helping those facing hardship and disadvantage as well as volunteers working to improve their local community. SYCF ‘connect people who care about South Yorkshire and have the means to invest in its future with the community groups striving to build stronger and healthier communities’. To date, they have supported more than 8,500 groups.

In the last five years, SYCF has awarded over £450,000 in 146 grant awards to community groups and charitable organisations working to improve local communities in Barnsley. In that time, reportedly over 200,000 people benefitted from the funding.

Jane explains: ‘As any individual or group who has been involved in fundraising knows it is hard work and very time consuming, however worthwhile the cause. Having recently returned from a holiday in the Cairngorms with mixed weather, I would compare it to climbing (by car) a mountain or even a mountain range in rain and shine!

When I became passionately interested in the Barnsley Pals Colours in 2016 and volunteered to find a way to ‘preserve’ them, I had no idea what effort this would involve. Last year, I increased my fundraising target by a third to just over £20,000 as I offered to include the cost of conserving the War Memorial Pillar and Plaques, because these and the Colours all honour Barnsley Pals.

I have suffered disappointment from rejections of applications, which feels like falling into the depths of a valley on a dull, wet day, and the joy of climbing up mountains of different heights in the sunshine as donations or grants come in. I appreciate all funding greatly and continue to publicise donors, most recently in my exhibition for the recent Heritage Open Days at St Mary’s.

I was advised by a member of staff at Barnsley Council earlier this year to contact Karen Walke at South Yorkshire Funding Advice Bureau (SYFAB) to discuss other possible sources of funds. I met Karen, who is very knowledgeable and helpful, and she suggested that I apply to SYCF. I also joined their mailing list to receive news about available grants for specific purposes and relevant training courses, two of which I have attended.

I am extremely grateful to SYCF for approving my application for £5,000 and paying this grant from their York and Lancaster Fund. Over the summer, I was successful in being granted £500 each from Cudworth, Kingstone, Penistone, St Helen’s and Stairfoot Ward Alliances, having applied to all of them in the absence of any central Council budget for projects that cover the whole borough. Mel Dyke (MBE being presented next month) made a very generous donation at the Commemoration with Procession on 2 June and Friendly Lodge 1513 added another £250 to their original donation from a raffle.

I had a very interesting and useful conversation with Melvyn Lunn, SYCF Trustee and Chair of the Barnsley Grants Panel, when he visited St Mary’s during our open days. He was keen to view the First World War Memorial Chapel, where my exhibition was set up, the two Colours and replicas. Melvyn was so impressed with the wealth of heritage, he agreed to become one of our Founder Friends of St Mary’s Church.

Melvyn & Jane

The photograph of us was taken holding a flier for the Royal British Legion Churchfield Branch’s Festival of Remembrance, which is returning to St Mary’s Church this year on Monday 7 November at 7pm. We are working closely together once again and my exhibition will be on display along with the replicas of the Colours etc’.

If anyone is interested in supporting this important First World War heritage project by making a donation or if you would like to join Friends of St Mary’s Church please contact 

                Jane Ainsworth at 45 Victoria Road, Barnsley, S70 2BU or

Jane Ainsworth