Popular Leeds busker dons straw hat once again to raise money during coronavirus pandemic

A well-known Leeds busker has donned his straw hat once again as he continues to fundraise for older people in the city.

Ken Smith, from Cookridge, can often be spotted playing a tune in Leeds city centre while dressed in his trademark waistcoat, bow tie and straw hat.

The instantly recognisable 87-year-old has been fundraising across Yorkshire for many years but the coronavirus pandemic has meant he is no longer able to perform.

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However, Ken has not let this stop his fundraising efforts, putting on his straw hat once again and swapping his collection bucket for the internet.

Popular busker Ken Smith, 87, has taken his fundraising efforts online due to the coronavirus lockdown.Popular busker Ken Smith, 87, has taken his fundraising efforts online due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Popular busker Ken Smith, 87, has taken his fundraising efforts online due to the coronavirus lockdown. | other

Ken, who is a granddad of ten and great-granddad of four, asked his family to film his latest ukulele performance and share it online.

The clip has been shared on Age UK Leeds's social media channels with a link to the charity's fundraising page.

Lisa Burnett, Fundraising Director at Age UK Leeds, said: "Ken is an absolute treasure and has been supporting us at Age UK Leeds for the last three years by busking all over Leeds.

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"He's raised thousands for many different charities over the years by taking his ukulele all across Yorkshire.

"I’m sure some of you will hear him playing his ukulele every Thursday evening as we all clap for carers.

"Ken did the video playing his ukulele with the online donation page in the hope he could still raise money for us in lockdown.

"He is an absolute star and we are very grateful for his support.

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"Now more than ever, Age UK Leeds needs to raise money as the demand for our services is understandably at it’s highest.

"If you can make a donation, Ken would be delighted and it would help Age UK Leeds support more lonely and vulnerable older people across Leeds.

"Thank you."

Age UK Leeds are working hard to help older people across Leeds during the pandemic.

Workers are making proactive calls to the most isolated and vulnerable older people to find out what help that they need.

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They are also support them with benefit claims and teaching them digital and technological skills so that they can stay in touch with family.

They have also launched a telephone befriending service where staff and volunteers are calling lonely older people for a regular chat over the phone to give them some much needed company and give them a chance to air their concerns and ask for any support they need.

The charity is also emergency shops for older people that do not have family or friends to help.

It's Hospital to Home service is also still operating at St James’ Hospital.

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This scheme takes takes older patients home once they are discharged from hospital and offer ongoing support to prevent them being readmitted.

To donate to Age UK Leeds and help them support the older people of Leeds during the coronavirus pandemic please visit their fundraising page.