Charity honours key fundraisers

The Wideopen Friends group receive their 25 years of volunteering badges.
The Wideopen Friends group receive their 25 years of volunteering badges.
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A fundraising group has celebrated raising thousands of pounds for charity.

Wideopen Friends have supported St Oswald’s Hospice for the last 25 years, raising more than £50,000.

And recently the group – made up of Audrey Trobe, Anne Wilson, Sylvia Rowe, Joan Brodin and Pat Shields. Norma Land, Vivian Trotter and Dorothy Dickinson were also members but have sadly died – were presented with their 25 year badges for volunteering.

The group said: “The reason we first began fundraising for the Hospice is because Anne’s brother died in hospital and didn’t get the treatment the family felt he deserved.

“This was before St Oswald’s was founded so when we heard about the Hospice and the type of care it provided, we thought it was a great cause and decided to begin fundraising.

“Our first fundraising events were coffee mornings in 1989 which went really well and we raised £680. It was then that a fundraiser suggested we started a group and in 1992 we became Wideopen Friends.

“Since then we’ve organised summer fairs, dances, nearly new sales, and we’ve always had an annual coffee morning.

“We have taken part in events the Hospice has organised, and it was the Friends groups who started off the St Oswald’s car boot sales.

“We’ve raised a total of £51,160 so far. A couple of our most memorable moments have been meeting Princess Diana and Prince Andrew.”

They added: “It doesn’t feel at all like 25 years since we started off, it’s flown over.

“We’ve really enjoyed fundraising; it helps to keep you from being bored and out of mischief! It’s also fantastic when you see what the money is going towards.”

Natalie Santamera, community fundraiser at St Oswald’s, said: “We are so thankful to Wideopen Friends for their continued support over the last 25 years.

“We need to raise £7m through voluntary giving each year to continue to provide our services, so we really couldn’t do without people like them.”

If you would like to support St Oswald’s, see how you can get involved at www.stoswaldsuk.org/get-involved