The CLDF hold an annual fundraising day called Big Yellow Friday. Ross and I decided we wanted to start supporting the charity, so we held our first ever fundraising event last Friday – a bingo night.
We set ourselves a fundraising target of £500. Seems we slightly underestimated our little town and its generosity – before the event, we’d already raised £1,500 on our Just Giving page. Then, when we were setting up the hall on Friday night, something happened that actually made me speechless (this doesn’t happen very often, as you may know). A couple, who we have never met before, came over to us. This is what happened:
Stranger: “Are you Hugo’s mum?”
Me: “Yes, and this is his dad.”
Stranger: “You don’t know me, but I saw your article in the paper about tonight and what you’re going through. We support local fundraising events and would like to offer a donation if that’s ok.”
Me: “Ok, thank you!”
Stranger’s wife: “You might want to sit down.”
Me: “I’ll be ok…”
Stranger: “I’m going to give you £1,000.”
Stranger pulls out wallet full of cash, and starts counting.
Stranger’s wife: “I told you you’d want to sit down!”
Cue a stunned silence and lots of tears. What an act of kindness. I, of course, asked them to stay for the bingo (and no, I wasn’t going to charge them the £10 entry!), but they declined, staying only for a drink. I’m not going to disclose the couple’s names, as I don’t know how public they want to be with their generosity. But if they see this, they’ll know who they are. Thank you – you really made our night.
The night, all in all, was a hit. We had 109 bingo’ers, including a few couples whom no-one we knew recognised; they had probably seen the East Kent Mercury article and just fancied dusting off their dobbers. The bingo (called by our friend Scott, and then his dad) went smoothly. We arranged a silent auction and a HUGE raffle (we had been so inundated with prizes from local businesses, friends and family that we eventually had to turn some down. We want to hold more fundraisers and we didn’t want to exhaust everyone’s generosity in one go!), all with great success.
Of course, the whole point was to raise both money and awareness, and we feel like we achieved our goal, as well as putting on a fun night (everyone seemed to leave with smiles on their faces). Our fundraising total is currently sitting at £6,600 – only slightly higher than our target! It’s totally blown us away – knowing we have this army of people supporting us through our journey means more than we can put into words.
So thanks, everyone. You rock.