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Norfolk fundraisers' tales of inspiration

PUBLISHED: 18:18 08 February 2018

Tucking in: Villagers enjoy their BIG Commuinity Breakfast.

Tucking in: Villagers enjoy their BIG Commuinity Breakfast.

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Gina Long looks at more inspirational local fund-raisers in her latest column.

Bethany and her family.Bethany and her family.

Seeing communities rally together to fundraise for charity really is so heart-warming to see. There is so much remarkable charity work being undertaken by so many inspirational people, doing extraordinary things throughout Norfolk. This time of year, there are many training for the London Marathon, each one of us running for charities that we are passionate about.

Sarcoma Uk is the charity I am running for with my friend Lisa Lumley, it’s a small great charity, one very close to my heart. Sarcoma mostly affects children and young adults - People with sarcoma tend to be younger: 16% of sarcomas are diagnosed in people under 30, compared to only 2% of all other cancers. Every pound we raise will help sarcoma researchers as they pave the way for better treatments.

A new world record for an annual single day charity fundraising event was set by last year’s London Marathon, which saw £61,500,000 raised. Please send me your London Marathon stories for this year, I will highlight them in my page next month. Wishing all of those training on these cold winter mornings the very best. It will all be worth it as we join the 40,000 other runners in London on April 22. I look forward to seeing you there.

Annually, the Purple Picnic week held by Nelson’s Journey aims to raise money for children who have lost a loved one, allowing them to attend a residential weekend where they can remember their special person, learn coping strategies for feelings like anger, and meet other children in the same situation to reduce the feeling of isolation.

Enjoy a Purple Picnic for Nelson's Journey.Enjoy a Purple Picnic for Nelson's Journey.

Last year the Purple Picnic raised a fantastic near-£11,000, enough to send 44 children on a residential weekend. This year, the Purple Picnic week is taking place between July 9-15, supported again by Bake Off’s Kate Barmby, who is providing three recipes for participants to try!

During the fundraising week, Nelson’s will be visiting as many picnics as they can. Please do consider holding a Purple Picnic, as the money raised will support bereaved children all over Norfolk, helping them move forward positively with their lives.

To register a Purple Picnic and download a fundraising pack, please visit www.nelsonsjourney.org.uk/purple-picnic

North Norfolk charity Walking with the Wounded works with more than 2,000 men and women each year, who are most at risk after leaving the military. They have just announced an incredible fundraising total of more than £250,000, which supports veterans by helping them back into employment and ensuring they receive essential mental health support and housing.

I am so delighted to hear that people throughout the county got involved with the Walking Home for Christmas campaign, created to raise awareness of homeless veterans. The charity’s mental health programme is now able to secure much-needed one to one therapy for a veteran within three days of them being in touch with Walking with the Wounded, and within seven miles of their home, closer than the average UK commute.

A huge thank-you to Webbs Jewellers in Holt, who recently sold tickets to customers to win a diamond, with a fantastic £2,050 raised for the charity.

To find out more, please visit www.walkingwiththewounded.org.uk

Sizzling sausages, bacon and eggs filled the air on Saturday January 13 at the New Victory Hall in Neatishead for the BIG Community Breakfast, as so many remarkable volunteers gathered to provide breakfast for residents in the villages of Neatishead, Barton Turf and Irstead.

Organiser Doreen Dean, explained that the event was organised to raise funds for Cancer Research UK, as several residents of the villages had been battling with cancer recently. A team of volunteers cooked 160 breakfasts in two hours, with the £1,400 of proceeds being donated to the chosen charity. Local companies such as Tavern Tasty Meats, Broadland eggs, Broadland Hams, Point Farm Holidays, Tesco of Stalham, Roys of Wroxham, White House Stores Neatishead and Nelson’s County Catering all got involved to help provide ingredients and support for the breakfast.

If you would like to hold an event to raise funds for vital research, please visit www.cancerresearchuk.org

I’m hoping many of you may consider helping seven-year-old Bethany who lives on the outskirts of Norwich. Bethany sadly suffers from mitochondrial myopathy which is a life-limiting neuromuscular condition, meaning her muscles cannot grow and become strong enough to function as they should do. She uses a manual wheelchair and relies on her parents, sisters and teachers to push her around, and is restricted from doing things that other girls her age are doing.

Bethany’s current wheelchair is limiting her independence and she often feels left out, as it does not move up or down to allow her to be involved in mealtimes and conversation. She has been assessed for an electric wheelchair to suit her medical and social needs, however this will cost £18,000 as the NHS will only fund up to £2,000 for an electric wheelchair.

Please visit Bethany’s Go Fund Me page at www.gofundme.com/BethanysWish and consider donating towards such a fantastic cause for an inspirational young lady.

This week I have seen a campaign on Twitter from a remarkable man raising funds to increase awareness about mental health. Simon Taylor, from Attleborough is helping to organise a Summer Ball for Norfolk charity Mind, to be held on Saturday July 21 at Old Buckenham Country Park. Mind is a charity that helps people who are struggling with mental health, Simon describes them as being the reason he is still here today.

After being discharged from hospital, following an attempt to take his own life, Simon was placed in the hands of the mental health system, under the care of his support worker from Mind. He says: “My Mind support worker texts me most days to see how I am, meets me in a relaxed public place to talk and supports my friends and family.”

Suicide is the leading killer for young people aged between 20-34 in the UK, with as many as three times more men as its victims. Just reading this story means there is one more person aware of mental health issues in the UK.

The Summer Ball has been designed to raise funds to support the work that Mind is doing throughout Norfolk, featuring a black-tie three-course dinner, silent auction with all proceeds being donated to the charity, lots of champagne, followed by a magician and live band to entertain guests for the rest of the evening. Visit the Mind website at www.norwichmind.org.uk to find out more information, or to enquire about tickets for the event contact simon.taylor239@btinternet.com

Please do share your charity stories with me, email all details and a photo to: gina@geewizzcharity.com Follow me on Twitter @geewizzgee1

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