Fabulous fundraisers in the village of Deanshanger are holding an ‘open house’ during the February half-term holidays to help provide specialist equipment for a local family with disabled twins.
Elly Hance and Rosemary Skinner are being helped by the children of Holy Trinity Church in the village to host the event at Elly’s home in Glebe Road, Deanshanger, on Wednesday 18 February.
Elly said: “We are inviting everyone from the local area to pop in for tea, coffee and some amazing cakes and to bring unwanted Christmas gifts with them for a ‘swap shop’, making a donation to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children.”
Elly, Rosemary and the children from the church are becoming well known in the village for their fundraising efforts for Newlife. Last year they raised almost £3,000 to provide a safe sleeping environment for an eight-year-old Northampton girl with Cerebral Palsy and learning difficulties.
They hold regular craft and jewellery sales, and have been supported by members of the community with donations as diverse as blackberries and apples, which have been frozen and sold, with the proceeds going to Newlife.
Rosemary said: “This all started when we saw an article in a local newspaper about little boy who had been helped by Newlife. We got in touch with the charity and have become energised by the fundraising activities, knowing that 100 per cent of our money is helping to buy equipment that is helping to transform lives.
“The village community have been brilliant and people are really enjoying joining in to help support local children; it seems like the whole community is getting involved; our youngest helper is six and our oldest is 88.”
Now they are fundraising to provide specialist comfortable seating for 11-year-old Great Missenden twins Emerson and Marcia Lee. Born prematurely, they have Cerebral Palsy and cannot sit without support.
Both twins are full time wheelchair users and also have functional seating designed to keep them safe when they are eating. But these are uncomfortable to sit in for any length of time and there is no more statutory funding available for alternative comfy seating. So the family turned to Newlife for help to get the chairs, which cost £2,345 each.
The twins’ mum Jane said: “They are up for 16 hours a day and have just the two options – which are essential, but limiting. It also means they are in the same position for long periods of time. The chairs would be somewhere for them to chill out in, where they could relax – like we do on the sofa. They should be allowed more than two positions in their life shouldn’t they?”
The Holy Trinity Church fundraisers have already collected £510 for Emerson and Marcia.
Elly and Rosemary recently visited Newlife’s UK headquarters in the Midlands, where they met charity fundraisers and toured the social enterprise trading business that exists solely to fund Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children. The proceeds from this business support the costs of the charity’s key services, enabling Newlife to guarantee that 100 per cent of all fundraising and donations is spent on provision of specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children.
Elly said: “We travelled up to Newlife not knowing what to expect, but what a wonderful welcome. We had a walk around and a talk with some of the charity’s staff about what was involved. We had no idea of the size and scale of the work being done.
“Our children are helping other local children, that’s the reward for us . . . to see our children excited when we get the continuous feedback of their efforts. They know every penny they raise goes straight to the children.”
Pictured (L to R): Rosemary Skinner, Newlife Events Manager Phillipa Gregory and Elly Hance.