Jodie Whittaker: Skelmanthorpe-born star of Doctor Who and Time returns home to support Mirfield's Eastthorpe Hall and Northorpe Hall Child and Family Trust

Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker has returned home to Yorkshire to support a pair of organisations working to improve the lives of locals in Mirfield.

Whittaker, who is from Skelmanthorpe near Huddersfield, met and posed for photos with fans today (April 19) at Easthorpe Hall, which is supporting the nearby Northorpe Hall Child and Family Trust, an organisation helping young people and their families struggling with mental illness.

Eastthorpe Hall in Mirfield, which relaunched in 2023 as a health and wellness centre and is home to 12 independent health and well-being practitioners, is celebrating its first anniversary with the fundraising event for the Trust.

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Whittaker, the first woman Doctor and its thirteenth incarnation between 2017 and 2022, told The Yorkshire Post: "I don't live here anymore, but this part of the world is incredibly important to me.

Eastthorpe Hall.Eastthorpe Hall.
Eastthorpe Hall.

"The marriage of these two places, I think, is really important and really shines a light on when you are giving back to community, the kind of work you can do and the impact you can have.”

The Trust had been looking for a public figure to raise awareness about its work and by good fortune, when attending a women’s networking event, staff met Easthorpe Hall director Victoria Barraclough – Whittaker’s best friend from Shelley High School.

Victoria (known to Whittaker as Tor) said: “I come from a very corporate background so it's really lovely to be able to actually do something worthwhile and something holistic that helps everybody. So we're just trying to get the name out there it's our first year and I was like, ‘Who better to help promote do that?’”

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Among the many Doctor Who fans who lined up to meet Whittaker were Raquel Rivero and Meren Corredor, from Spain, who arranged a detour to Mirfield from their holiday in Ireland when they found out about the event.

“But we would have come anyway,” said Raquel.

"It was amazing (to meet Whittaker). She was mainly focused on helping us find local charities in our area that we could contribute to as well as this one (Northorpe).”

Whittaker, 41 and now based in London, is also hoping to get a more in-depth look at the Trust’s work in the future.

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When the event was announced Dipika Kaushal, chief executive officer at the Trust, said they were “delighted to be chosen as Eastthorpe Hall's charity partner for their first anniversary as a health and wellness centre.

“This marks the start of a new and exciting partnership between two organisations who have longstanding links to Mirfield and a shared vision around innovative and accessible health and wellbeing support.”

She also described Whittaker as “an excellent role model for those we support, and sharing stories about how critical it is for children and young people to develop good self-esteem, resilience and problem-solving skills from an early age and how the work we do supports this”.

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