A Peterborough charity has struck gold after raising half a million pounds to help sick and disabled children.
Members of the Action Medical Research Peterborough Committee are marking its 20th anniversary in 2016 as well as commemorating the impressive amount they have raised over the past two decades.
With the help of its supporters, Action Medical Research has played a significant role in many medical breakthroughs for more than 60 years, from the development of the first UK polio vaccines to the use of ultrasound in pregnancy. In addition to premature birth, it is currently funding research into meningitis, Down’s syndrome and epilepsy, as well as some rare and distressing conditions that severely affect children.
Angela Hyde, chairwoman of the Peterborough committee, said she was thrilled to reach the milestone.
She said: “When I was approached to be part of the committee I had not even heard of the charity. But the work they have done over 63 years has been amazing.
“The charity is one that does not get a lot of publicity, but does so much work. At the moment they are working on stopping disability and disease with children, which is so important. They are working with babies still in the womb, and on preventing premature death, as well as with epilepsy, diabetes and cancer.
“When you see the money you raised going to work like this, you know there will be another breakthrough soon.
Much of the money is raised through events held throughout the year, including a golf weekend, hosted by Spandau Ballet star Tony Hadley.
Angela said: “We could not have made the money we have without the support of the public who come to the events every year. This year will be Tony’s 12th golf classic, and it is our biggest event of the year.
“All the celebrities come along and support it, and put their hands in their pockets.
“We will keep on putting on events. We have a Casino and Poker Night on March 4, the Tony Hadley Golf Classic and the Quiz Night, which is hosted by one of the Chasers from ITV show The Chase.
“There is a lot of stress putting these events on, but it is all worth it when you see how much has been raised. The whole committee - Margaret Clark, Veronica Palmer, Andrew Cater, Mandy Jarvis and Caroline Schmidt - work very hard to make sure everything happens as it should.”
“We knew we were close to the £500,000 mark in June last year - we needed about £5,000 - and in the end we raised £65,000 in 2015 alone.”
The charity’s chair Phil Hodkinson said: “We’re very proud to recognise the exceptional commitment and dedication of the Peterborough committee’s many members to the charity over so many years.
“It is thanks to the extraordinary hard work of volunteers like them that Action Medical Research has been able to establish such a long and distinguished track record of funding life-changing research to help babies and children. We hope people will continue to support their local fundraisers so we can do even more in the future.”
The stakes will be raised at the charity’s next big night.
GreenCity Solutions and Boongate Kia will sponsor the Casino and Poker Night, which takes place on March 4, starting at 6.30pm.
The evening kicks off with a Poker School for the beginners or those who just need a refresh with the tournament starting at 7pm. If you don’t want to play poker you can still attend and enjoy the casino tables and buffet.
There will be a guaranteed first prize of £600.
Rob Baldacci, Managing Director of GreenCity Solutions, said “This is a unique opportunity to support a charity and take part in something a little bit different.”
Tony O’Shea, Managing Director of Boongate Kia, added: “We often support charities and charity events but this is something unusual and open to anyone, even those who don’t play poker.”
For more details about the Casino Night, or to book a place, visit www.action.org.uk/casino-night-booking.
For more information about the charity, or other events taking place in Peterborough throughout the year visit www.amr-peterborough.co.uk/.