Charity baker raises £50,000 for military charity - and dedicates success to late wife
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A baker who has spent years supporting a charity for the armed forces has smashed his £50,000 fundraising target - and has dedicated the success to his late wife.
David and Pat Brown spent the past seven years making and selling chutneys and cakes to boost the coffers of Help For Heroes.
But in a tragic turn of events Mrs Brown died suddenly in March before the were able to reach their goal.
Mr Brown vowed to carry on in her memory and during his annual Armed Forces Day event at his home in Burgh St Peter on Saturday, the couple's dream became reality.
More than £1,700 was raised, and together with a donation from friends of his daughter Sally Williams - who is in the army - the grand total stands at £53,000.
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Mr Brown said: 'I am absolutely gobsmacked really. I just can't believe how much people have given.'
'I want to thank everybody for their support, all their donations and such kind words.'
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Mr and Mrs Brown were inspired to start fundraising through their daughter Staff Sergeant Williams, who has served in the army for 21 years.
After being so moved by the soldiers they met, the couple decided to support the charity, which helps wounded military personnel.
Their first Armed Forces Day event in 2009 raised more than £300, and since then it has become a highlight on the village calendar and includes the sale of cakes and chutneys, plus a tea tent, raffle and a jumble sale. Mr Brown also holds dozens of other local stalls during the year.
Mrs Brown was known to spend the entire week preparing and cooking for the event and would always stay in the kitchen during the celebration where she felt most at home. On Saturday Mr Brown was supported by his daughter, his son Alister and other members of the family.
He said: 'People started to turn up at 7.30am, we had 48 raffle prizes this year and a lovely lady from Clacton whose sister lives in Beccles hand stitched a quilt for us, which we raffled off for just under £200. We would love to know her name and say thank you to her.'
SSgt Williams said: 'It was lovely to see hundreds of people buy their cakes and chutneys, have a cup of tea and have a natter in the sunshine. People seem to look forward to it and tell me it's the best thing in the village.'
Mr Brown said despite reaching his target he would continue to raise money.
'Pat always wanted a big bell outside the front door and after she had passed away I found one and put it up, so during the course of Saturday morning I rang it and thanked everyone who came for their kind support. I know it is Armed Forces Day, but to me it will forever be Pat's day and I will carry on for her.'
His daughter added: 'She would have been chuffed to bits that Dad had reached £53,000. She wouldn't have left the kitchen, but inside she would have been so happy.
'We had a picture of her hanging up in the garage, so she was still there overseeing proceedings.'
To stay up-to-date with Mr Brown's fundraising, search for Dad's Help for Heroes Page on Facebook.