Caring couple’s lasting legacy

When Mary Tasker died aged 93 she and her late husband Ted left Barnsley Hospital a six-figure sum. Catherine Scott reports on the bequest by the Taskers which is saving lives of the future.

CT scanner and Mary Tasker, below.

WHEN managers at Barnsley Hospital were left a huge legacy by a local couple it soon became clear where they should spend the money.

Ted and Mary Tasker’s £600,000 bequest has been used to buy a second CT scanner for the hospital’s imaging department, which helps with the diagnosis of diseases including brain tumours.

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The legacy follows Mary’s death two years ago, aged 93. Ted was 79 when he died in 1989, and the couple married in 1942. Since the bequest came to light, a number of coincidences have emerged that make the hospital’s choice of a scanner a fitting tribute to Ted and Mary.

Born in Lincolnshire, Ted served in the Medical Corps in the Second World War as a radiographer – a person who operates X-ray machines. After the war, he opened a photographic shop – E G Taskers – in New Street, Barnsley – a business he ran for nearly 25 years.

Ted was a passionate photographer and among his work was a detailed history of Barnsley and its buildings – a collection which lives on today thanks to his wife, Mary. She established the Ted Tasker Photographic Trust, a charity which works to preserve Ted’s archive of thousands of photographs.

A “blue plaque” occupies the site of Ted’s New Street shop, now part of the Mall Alhambra shopping centre, to formally recognise his photographic work. Ted was also awarded the MBE for his service as a magistrate and local historian. The remarkable story of the Taskers has been revealed by longstanding family friend and trustee Raymond Walker.

“Ted and Mary were a wonderful couple and this legacy to Barnsley Hospital says such a lot about them and it’s so fitting that their money will be used to buy a scanner,” says Mr Walker.

“Ted was a very accomplished photographer and I was lucky to have known him and Mary. She was determined to set up the Trust to make sure Ted’s work lived on for everyone.”

Raymond, 76, knew the Taskers from being a young man and spent 23 years working for Ted in his photographic shop before taking the business over for 17 years until 1989 when the shop was compulsorily purchased.

“Mary was an independent woman who used to be a music teacher and then ran a chain of men’s outfitters on the outskirts of Barnsley,” says Raymond.

The new CT scanner is now in place at Barnsley Hospital and an official opening ceremony was taking place today by Mr Walker to reveal a special plaque mounted next to the scanner acknowledging the Taskers’ bequest.

Stewart Yates, the hospital’s clinical director for radiology, said: “We’re very grateful to Ted and Mary for their legacy which will make such a difference to our imaging department.

“A second CT scanner will enable us to see and treat patients much sooner than has been previously possible.

“We can’t thank Ted and Mary enough for their support for Barnsley Hospital and its patients.”

For more information on the The Ted Tasker Photographic Trust visit www.taskertrust.co.uk

Important diagnostic tool

A CT scan is a computerised tomography scan. It uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body.

CT scans are also sometimes known as CAT scans. CT scans can be used to diagnose and monitor a variety of different health conditions including brain tumours, certain bone conditons and injuries to internal organs such as the kidneys, liver or spleen.

They are also often used to look inside the body before another procedure takes place, such as radiotherapy treatment or a biopsy (where a small tissue sample is taken so that it can be examined under a microscope).