The UK’s leading children’s charity is celebrating and thanking Ecclesall Barnardo’s Helpers Group for over 50 years of incredible support.
They have raised an astonishing £88,349.20 for disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people.
The committee has 11 members - Kay Aikin, Pat Allen, Sue Cockayne, Pippa Field, Sylvia Frith, Judy Harding, Irene Hennessey, Sue Knowles, Jenny Norris, April Wright and Anne Tempest.
Longest-serving member Anne said: “I’m very proud of the money we have raised for such a good cause. It was due to the hard work of all of our committee, but most importantly the generous support of our friends.
“I know that Barnardo’s children and young people have benefited from that work, but they have certainly have shown their appreciation over the years.”
Anne has worked closely with Paddy Hatfield, Dorothy Hibbins, Alison Moore, Pat Allen and Marian Venning in the chair.
She was asked to join the committee in the early 1970s, when her youngest daughter started school. The group was already well established with about ten members. They originally serviced the famous Dr Barnardo cottage-shaped collecting boxes and held coffee mornings.
“The box opening was most important as in the early days when they were mainly held by friends’ children” says Anne. “We developed an annual party where they brought their box to be emptied.
“Apart from the games and entertainment, our Barnardo’s representative came and explained why we had to care for some children who had no-one else to care for them, which made the boxes become much more meaningful.”
Over the years the group’s fundraising became more ambitious with an annual ploughman’s lunch for 100 with the group producing apple pies, coleslaw and cakes, and an annual jumble sale, with at least another event each year such as a lunch, or fashion show or concert or bridge drive. Garden visits were also very popular.
“Some events were very special” says Anne. “Anne Ponsford, who was a committee member in the 1980s, and her husband Adrian suggested a fashion show in their prestigious furniture store.
“The first show went amazingly well, so we were persuaded to do a repeat performance later that week, making £1,000 each time!
“In the 1980s there were a lot of VIP events including a ball at Blenheim Palace with Princess Margaret, services at Westminster Abbey and York Minster and a garden party at Chatsworth House when Princess Diana was patron.
“In 2009 I was delighted to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace - it was good to be recognised on a personal level.”
Barnardo’s director for the East region, Steve Oversby, said: “I’d like to thank the Ecclesall Helpers Group for their dedication and their enthusiasm, doing so much to support children over the years and making a real difference to many, many children and young people’s lives.”