Published on: Friday 31 Mar 2023 at 11:17
Group ends after raising £160,000
A group of fundraising supporters have disbanded their group after more than three decades of voluntary service. Harlow Friends of St Clare was founded in 1990 and during that time they have raised around £160,000 for the West Essex and East Hertfordshire hospice charity.
Founding member, Audrey Marlow (from Harlow), said: “I never thought back when the Hospice was founded that St Clare would become such a large part of my life. I had just envisaged baking the odd sponge cake here and there, and little did I know that I would remain a fundraising supporter for the next 30 years!”
Audrey continued, “In the early days I mainly helped with stuffing envelopes, which is how Harlow Friends was born. I then started helping with street collections to raise funds, the first being at a big concert in Harlow Town Park. I remember the fundraising appeal to buy the farmhouse building, Stone Barton, which would become the current Hospice site. We had a furniture auction and one friend bid for a whole fitted bedroom – to her husband’s shock!”
Commenting on the Harlow Friends fundraising group, Audrey said: “We have held dozens of fundraising events over the years. From barbecues and jazz band nights, to a summer fete and Christmas fayre. We also founded the St Clare Open Gardens in Harlow in 1994 – which still raises thousands of pounds each year. Our ‘posh afternoon tea’ became a firm favourite and we hosted it up until last year.”
Ellie Gale, Relationship Fundraising Manager, said: “Words cannot express how grateful we are to Harlow Friends for their constant support over so many years. After three decades, the group has decided to retire – and we couldn’t agree more that they deserve to put their feet up!”
Ellie continued: “£160,000 is an incredible amount to have raised, and would be enough to fund more than 4,000 visits by our Hospice at Home nursing assistants. Their care helps give vital care to people at the end of their life, in the comfort of their own homes.”
Ellie commented: “Harlow Friends have been unceasing in their drive and enthusiasm to fund hospice care for people in their local area, and so many hundreds of local families have them to thank for the care they received. As an independent charity, we are completely reliant on the kindness of local people to help us keep caring for those facing one of life’s most difficult journeys. The generosity of Harlow Friends, giving of their time and effort over so many years, will never be forgotten.”
The retiring members of the Harlow Friends group came to St Clare Hospice for a thank you afternoon tea event in March, where they were each presented with an award by Sarah Thompson, CEO of St Clare Hospice. The members who attended were: Ann Flint, Carol Godfrey, Ann Gould, Laura Clarke, Rita Sayers, Audrey Marlow, Jan Noble and Pam Webb.
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