Charity news - December 2013

PUBLISHED: 11:27 23 December 2013 | UPDATED: 11:27 23 December 2013

Volunteers tribute: Carl Etholen with Chesham and Amersham Simply Walks leaders

Volunteers tribute: Carl Etholen with Chesham and Amersham Simply Walks leaders

Richard Wells HP21 9DT

Charity news and events in our counties

Three cheers for the unsung heroes

Where would we be without volunteers? In Bucks more than 1,500 people help to keep services running for projects overseen by the county council. Council chairman Carl Etholen, himself a voluntary community bus driver, had a chance to thanks some of them at a reception held at Beaconsfield. He said: “Service to the community is something Buckinghamshire people are very good at. They really are our unsung heroes, and if it wasn’t for the support of volunteers, many projects just wouldn’t run.”

Among more than 70 attending were those who support the council’s country parks teams, Master Composters, school travel planners, and 31 Simply Walks leaders, who organise walks to encourage health and wellbeing.

Elaine Hill, who has been leading ‘Footsteps’ road safety training for Great Kingshill School for the five years, said she got great satisfaction from helping children with observation, listening and road crossing skills.

Andrew Clark, a Simply Walks leader from Chesham and Amersham, said they led two walks every week around the picturesque Chilterns: “And we walk come rain or shine, people love it.”

Four of the 10 Simply Walks leaders from Marlow were present and leader Stella Ward said they had already booked their Christmas celebration at Court Garden, Marlow: “Our walks are great social occasions and build good friendships,” she said.

Dames on the Run

We admire their courage and sense of humour: some 40 men ran through Windsor’s streets dressed as ‘ladies’, including brides, celebrity dames and even the odd mother-in-law.

Thames Hospice organised Dames on the Run and were delighted when £5,000 was raised. Michelle Bowridge, their Events and Community Manager, said: “As a local attraction it certainly gave Windsor Castle a run for its money!”

Connor Thomas was first home on the 5k run (perhaps in a hurry to lose his costume) and the best dames were judged to be those from Colnbrook Amateur Stage Theatre.

Rain can’t stop dog walkers

Mutt Strut, a sponsored dog walk organised by South Bucks RSPCA starting from the Royal Standard of England pub, near Beaconsfield, raised nearly £1,200 for local animals in need.

Pub owner Matthew O’Keeffe, said, “We have three dogs ourselves and appreciate the essential work that the charity does to help and protect animals.”

Helen Fothergill, South Bucks RSPCA area manager for shops, added: “Everyone, including the dogs, really enjoyed the walk, despite the rain. I was delighted that the pub collections, plus walkers’ donations and sponsorship, raised such a fantastic amount.”

For information on adopting an animal call 0845 3707526, or if you would like to volunteer some time to assist at events call Louise Wheeler on 07956 570084.

Outstanding contribution rewarded

The dedication of volunteers from Thames Hospice was recognised at Bearwood College, Wokingham, when they received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the equivalent of the MBE presented to individuals.

Neville and Daphne Smith, long standing volunteers from the charity’s Dedworth shop, received a certificate signed by The Queen and a commemorative crystal, presented by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for Berkshire, The Hon Mrs Mary Bayliss JP.

They were joined by a selection of volunteers, including members of the bereavement counselling team, a driver, the housekeeping team, a trustee and two members of staff.

Helen & Douglas House sale attracts Theresa May

A pre-Christmas sale at Pearson Hall in Sonning raised £2,980 for children’s hospice Helen & Douglas House. Amongst the 180 visitors were the Rt Hon Theresa May and Philip May.

This event, organised by Meryem Parker and Jean Hughill from the Henley Helen & Douglas House charity shop, was a great chance to have an afternoon out and get Christmas shopping done early.

Meryem, who lives in Sonning, has worked for Helen & Douglas House for several years and visited the hospice to see the work they do to help families with children and young adults with life shortening conditions.

Meryem said: “Thank you to all those who volunteered time to help set up, make delicious cakes and preserves to sell, donated raffle prizes, sold raffle tickets, made endless cups of tea and coffee, entertained us on the piano, dear Jane G, helped us with the sales on the day, braved the weather and came to buy; and to our two sponsors – The Sonning Directory and Above the Line Set Assistance and Security. I would also like to extend my appreciation and thanks to Rt Hon Theresa May and Philip May.”

For more information about Helen & Douglas House see www.helenanddouglas.org.uk.

Lunch at Coworth Park for Sebastian’s Action Trust

Some 60 ladies gathered at Coworth Park, Ascot for a luncheon in aid of Sebastian’s Action Trust, hosted by Windsor resident Samantha Rayner.

They enjoyed champagne on arrival and a delightful three course meal which was followed by a moving speech from Jane Gates, Sebastian’s mother and CEO of Sebastian’s Action Trust. Concluding the lunch was Barbara Cosgrave from ‘Designs for Success’ who gave a fascinating presentation on styling. The lunch raised £1,285, which will go to help families with life limited children.

Samantha Rayner said: “I am thrilled that such a considerable sum was raised. I deeply admire all the wonderful work accomplished by Jane and the team at Sebastian’s Action Trust and I look forward to our next project together. There were many new supporters that joined the lunch and it’s great to spread the word about this fantastic charity.”

See www.sebastiansactiontrust.org for more.

Be a Santa to a Senior

Organisations in Twyford, Berkshire are asking local residents to ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ this Christmas. Twyford Village Partnership, Home Instead Senior Care, Age Concern, Hare Hatch Sheeplands, the Spend It In Twyford group and many shops, pubs and businesses are supporting a campaign to help senior citizens who may be spending Christmas alone, or in difficult circumstances.

Paul Westgarth, from the in home care service Home Instead Senior Care, explained: “Our target is to raise enough money to provide 100 hampers and have 100 guests at a tea party at Hare Hatch Sheeplands, where entertainment will be provided by the Barberettes, a lively and entertaining group of female A Cappella singers based in Woodley.”

The tea party will be at Sheeplands on December 19 and Andrea Burlingham from the garden centre said: “Customers who visit us over the next few weeks can either put loose change into one of our collection pots, or they can remove a gift tag from our Christmas tree and use it to pledge a fixed amount of money. All the money will be used towards the cost of the hampers and party.”

Collection boxes will also be provided throughout the village.

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