Pakefield fundraisers nearing £300,000 milestone

Charity Fundraisers Janet Ellis and Zoiyar Cole are just short of raising £300,000

Charity Fundraisers Janet Ellis and Zoiyar Cole are just short of raising £300,000 - Credit: Nick Butcher

They have been hailed as inspirational – having raised thousands of pounds for worthy causes over the years.

But the remarkable voluntary efforts of Zoiyar Cole and Janet

Ellis could soon top another level, as they close in on an incredible milestone.

Two of the Waveney area's hardest working fund-raisers are just £770 away from reaching £300,000 – and they are hopeful of beating this sum in forthcoming weeks.

From an inaugural coffee morning that Mrs Cole organised to raise funds for Macmillan Nurses, through to a special balloon release in three months time, the Pakefield pair have together raised more than £299,000 for cancer charities over the past 14 years.

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Since the Paul Cole Cancer Fund was set up in memory of Zoiyar's son, who tragically died from liver cancer in 1999, aged just 35, many people have benefited from their efforts.

With a series of wacky events being held to boost the overall amount raised, the selfless duo were united in their aim of giving something back to the organisations that had helped them.

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Toe-dips, solar strolls, table-top sales, raffles, bike rides, coffee mornings and moonlight walks are just some of the numerous fund-raising events that have been organised over the years, and they also opened Jazos charity shop in London Road South which later passed to East Anglia Children's Hospices (EACH).

Mrs Cole has even written books of poetry, with many of her poems being published, and crocheted flowers, which have also been sold over the years.

Throughout their fund-raising feats, monies have been donated to the Sandra Chapman Ward at the James Paget University Hospital, the Louise Hamilton Centre at the hospital, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Macmillan Nurses, EACH and helped local people as well.

In recognition of their efforts, two of the rooms at the Louise Hamilton Centre were named in their honour – and now the two close friends are approaching their latest milestone.

Praising the generosity of the whole community, Mrs Cole said: 'I would like to thank everybody who has supported us over the last 14 years. It has been phenomenal. We never really expected to raise that amount of money.

'We never set a target and still today people are very, very generous – the whole community have supported us.'

Reflecting on the events that have been held over the years, Mrs Cole said: 'I think each event has a life-span of about four years, and then we have to think about something else. I've been saying for the last four years or so we are not going to do it any more, and this event will be the last, but we will keep on going – although we may have to cut back a bit.'

Mrs Cole, 72, and Mrs Ellis, 71, are both former winners of The Journal's Pride in the Community awards. And speaking of their friendship, Mrs Cole said: 'We are like sisters, and this amount of money would not have been raised without Janet.

'We would like to thank everybody that has supported us over the years and donated monies to the Paul Cole Cancer Fund – and all the lady volunteers who helped us having Jazos. A big 'thank-you' in particular goes to them – it has been a team effort.'

Recalling the first-event that was held, Mrs Cole said: 'I just wanted to raise £500 to give some monies to Macmillan, for all the support they had given Paul. We raised £680, and so I wanted to round it up to £1,000 ... it never stopped from there.'

Now, they are just £770 away from reaching £300,000 and Mrs Cole said that a special balloon release and raffle is to be held at Pakefield Church in September.

'If anyone locally, or any businesses, can help donate some raffle prizes – large or small – it would be appreciated as we hope to get to this £300,000 milestone,' Mrs Cole said.

? If you can help, or can donate any raffle prizes or funds, call Mrs Cole on 01502 513573.

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