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23 Jan 2020 Community

Baby Reindeers created in memory of Tracy Butters

The Estates and Facilities Services’ team at the University of Huddersfield held a very festive fundraiser last Christmas and raised over £1,000 in memory of their colleague, Tracy Butters.

A team in the Estates and Facilities Services department at the University of Huddersfield took over their office and turned it into a Christmas workshop, creating festive ornaments to sell in memory of their co-worker and good friend, Tracy Butters.

Tracy Butters worked as the Assistant Cleaning Services Manager, along with her husband, Allan Butters, who currently oversees Waste Management for the University.

Sadly, Tracy died in September 2018, spending her final days on the In-Patient Unit at Kirkwood with Allan by her side.

Tracy and Allan


When Tracy got diagnosed with cancer, Director of Estate and Facilities Colin Blair surprised the Butters family with a very special reindeer one Christmas.

Colin is a keen handyman in his spare time and in 2017 he took it upon himself to create festive reindeer sculptures for his friends and family.

Allan said: “We came home one Christmas and as we’re pulling onto the drive Tracy says ‘who’s he?’, I had no idea what she was talking about until I looked on the drive and saw the reindeer.

“We looked at the tag and saw it was from Colin, it even had his signature trademark heart right on the front. Tracy just fell in love with it, she loved it, and so she named him Colin.”

To honour Tracy, Colin made 15 Tracy Reindeers at Christmas 2018 to sell and auction to colleagues at the University to raise funds for Kirkwood. They proved a huge success with orders flying in for more reindeers to be made!

Jo Fulton and Diane Bilinski getting the Baby Tracy Reindeers ready to sell


Colin went bigger than ever in 2019 and created 100 Baby Tracy Reindeers to sell to colleagues at the University.

The fundraiser didn’t come without its injuries when Colin sawed through his hand, but that didn’t stop him finishing the miniature sculptures.

In addition to the Baby Tracy Reindeers, Colin’s colleagues created Christmas mice and lanterns to boost funds. The team’s festive fundraiser raised a staggering £1,168 in memory of Tracy.

The University supports Kirkwood in many different ways, from hosting the Midnight Memory Walk and Christmas Fair to supporting the Cuppa for Kirkwood campaign.

Creating their own fundraisers in memory of Tracy has become an important thing for many after seeing first-hand the support Allan and his family were given by the teams at Kirkwood.

Director Colin Blair, Sam Harding, Diane Bilinski, Jo Fulton and Allan Butters


Kirkwood Events Organiser Kathryn Box was delighted to visit the team at the University to receive the money raised.

Kathryn said: “The relationship Kirkwood has with the University of Huddersfield is amazing, they have become a key part of the Kirkwood family and we couldn’t do what we do without them.

“It’s lovely to know we have been able to give back to one of their team members and continue to support Allan and his family. Thank you all so much for your ongoing support.”

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