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Guest article: My first fundraising year - Yasmin's story

9 January 2015

PCRF supporter, Yasmin Bailey, describes her 2014 fundraising efforts and shows what amazing things can be achieved - with help from friends (both human and 'animal'!)

The word ‘target’ is an all too familiar word used in our busy ‘target driven’ lives of today. This was certainly true for me when I first started fundraising for Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. 

At the end of 2013, following the death of my husband Ken from the disease in August 2013 just 11 weeks after being diagnosed, I was determined that his death would not be for nothing and set myself a ‘target’ of raising £2,000 for my first year. I thought that if I could raise this amount during 2014 then I would be very pleased. When the end of December arrived my target had been smashed and trampled into the ground with a resounding bang. I ended up, with the help of my friends, raising £6,417.72. It was just amazing.

I started by placing collecting tins in as many locations as I could, and a few of the shops also have the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund pins. It does mean regularly checking on them of course, but the ends justify the means, as together the 11 tins have generated £707 so far, which is really good! 

But even better, I found that once people came to know what I was doing they were more than happy to jump aboard and do anything they could to help.  

For example, whilst chatting to the Manager at our local Edinburgh Woollen Mill, she suggested they could hold a Fashion Show for us. We sold tickets at £6.50 each to include wine and nibbles and held a raffle – the evening was great fun and a great success, raising the fantastic sum of £700.  

Another lady suggested doing a sponsored walk for us - this brought in £885. The Bogeymen at our local Golf course raised £513.00 from a special fundraising round of golf. Our local bus company, Stagecoach in East Kent’s Thanet Depot, raised £250 for us on a special fundraising day and there was also a Bake and Share event which was such fun and was extremely successful, raising £333. 

One of the biggest events was held over two Saturdays when my Doctors’ Surgery held their flu vaccination days. After receiving the flu jab, people were invited to buy cups of tea or coffee and home-made cakes.  Tables were laid and people could socialize over a cuppa and of course buy raffle tickets. I also had the help of our local Pearly Queens.  At each event, I always take along the charity's literature as I feel fundraising is also about raising awareness and the flu vaccination days were no exception -  in fact each Doctor on duty received a pack from me and I was able to talk to them briefly about pancreatic cancer being on their ‘radar’. The GPs were very interested and joined in with the fun of the day. Overall this event raised a massive £1,592!

I must say that besides my friends who help me enormously at each and every event I attend, I have another special helper - our mascot, Ramsden the gorilla (not a real one I hasten to add!)   He wears his uniform with pride and attracts so much attention and laughter. He has his own fundraising bucket and most people cannot pass him without putting a donation in there.

PCRF supporter, Ramden the gorilla

We closed our 2014 events with a Pantomime, for which our local theatre, the Sarah Thorne theatre, put aside tickets for our charity on one of their nights. Again we had a raffle and Ramsden was in attendance. This raised a further £293.

These are just some of the events we held. I try to have a stall at any of our local ‘Friends of Ellington Park’ events. I put up a small gazebo and again the awareness is raised and donations are made. My friend Judy also makes the most beautiful cakes and scones which we sell. 

There are so many lovely things that we can do to raise these all important funds and I now look towards 2015 and hope very much to break through the £10,000 target!

Without a doubt, everything I've done for the fundraising has given me such a boost in morale. Every time I do anything connected with PCRF, I feel I'm doing it in memory of my Ken. When organising events, I love talking to people and listening to their stories. Immediately, a bond is formed with those still coming to terms with the loss of a loved one and somehow it makes me feel less isolated.

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