Pat de Swart and Wendy Thorpe are just two of the growing band of retirees around the UK who are helping to support disabled and terminally ill children in their communities.
They are volunteers for Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, which guarantees that 100 per cent of every donation or monies raised will be used to fund essential specialist equipment for children in the area of their choice.
Pat, from Swaffham in Norfolk, started organising ‘Sparkle Parties’ for Newlife.
Sparkle Parties offer costume jewellery for sale at hugely discounted prices; stock comes from the charity’s recycling and retail social enterprise business which works with leading High Street retailers and manufacturers.
To date, Pat has raised £4,085, which has helped fund eight items of essential equipment for children in Norfolk.
Pat said: “I enjoy the fundraising events enormously because everyone is thrilled to walk off with a pretty necklace or ear rings and it has cost very little money. At a time when most people are on a tight budget they are really pleased to be able to treat themselves, a friend or relative without spending more than they can afford. People also like to know that every penny raised will help a disabled child in their county.”
She added: “I would like to pass on my knowledge and experience to other like-minded people in Norfolk who might also like to support Newlife. Like me, they could get a tremendous amount of pleasure and satisfaction from holding Sparkle Parties.”
In neighbouring Cambridgeshire, Wendy Thorpe and her friends have been ‘Getting Crafty’ for Newlife, making and selling a wide range of hand-crafted goods.
Wendy is a member of the De Ramsay Court Charity Craft Group Warboys. During 2013, they raised £1,794 for Newlife, helping to fund equipment for five children in Cambridgeshire.
Meeting up once a week, they craft a selection of goodies – including knitted clothes and collectibles, jewellery, eye-catching cards and wonderful home-baked cakes – which they then sell at local events and ‘Coffee and Crafts’ mornings.
Wendy said: “Knowing we are raising money to help children in our local community is a huge incentive to our members – and the people who support our events.”
Across the country in Birmingham, Sheila Palmer has been doing her bit with the help of fellow members of the Midlands Co-operative Society Repertory Company.
The group recently put on a special performance of pantomime favourite Snow White at a theatre in the city –and raised £581 for Newlife.
That money has funded a specialist buggy for a local boy who has cortical dysplasia, a congenital brain abnormality which has resulted in severe and complex epilepsy and learning disabilities. His parents can now get him out and about in the community in both comfort and safety.
Newlife has lots of other ways in which you can get involved. John Powner and his Staffordshire group of Korean War Veterans have been holding collections for at community events where they have run Newlife stalls selling jewellery and crafts.
Demonstrating that you’re never too old to play an important role in local life, Pat, Wendy, Sheila and John’s fundraising activities are being duplicated in communities across the UK by Newlife’s dedicated band of supporters.
If you would like to join them – and make a real difference to the lives of disabled and terminally ill children in the area where you live – contact the Newlife Community Fundraising Team on freephone 0800 988 4640.
For details of how many equipment grants Newlife Foundation has funded in your county, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk.
It will also tell you how many more children are waiting for help in your area right now.