Action Medical Research is always on the lookout for volunteers. With so many annual events held across the UK there’s a real variety of opportunities for people to get involved. If you don’t see an event near you that you’d like to help with, you can always start a fundraising group and create your own! Chloe Liddell from East Sussex has been helping Action Medical Research for 15 years. Here she tells us about some of her personal highlights…
The Tennis Court
“Would anyone like to come on the committee for Action Medical Research?” Christine, Chairman of the Barcombe Branch quipped. We were just coming off the tennis court after our Tuesday morning session at Barcombe Tennis Club, having caught up with the village gossip and done a few smashes and volleys.
“I will if Chloe does” replied Cellie.
So, 15 years later - and with a variety of fundraising activities behind us - the committee (Fran, Sophie, Cellie and myself)is still going strong.
Our first foray into the world of fundraising was an obvious choice – a ladies’ tennis tournament! With three of what must be the most scenic courts in the country (shame about the south westerlies!) we managed to persuade about 24 players to find the courts in the village across the Rec. A well-earned lunch followed in the Barcombe Sports Pavillion; in the raffle everyone won something – usually a bag of sweetcorn donated by a local farmer! We did this for ten years before finally hanging up our tennis shoes but are very grateful for all those who turned up with a racket or otherwise over the years.
Children’s Christmas parties are not always a good idea . . .
Cellie’s big idea was then to have a children’s Christmas party about a week before Christmas. I can’t think why we thought this was a good idea as we were incredibly busy with our own children, let alone organising a fundraising event! It was great fun though and the entertainer kept everyone amused while we dealt with the jelly and other refreshments. But after about three years we decided that enough was enough!
In the meantime, Christine had been continuing to organise an Antiques Fair in Lewes (this has now been going for 30 years!). She sorts the stallholders as she is a dealer herself and the rest of the committee organise the café in the Town Hall. We do this twice a year and after all this time we still can’t decide if it is better if it is rainy or sunny, windy or still . . . The same people turn up whatever the weather smelling Cellie’s bacon butties from the street! Cakes are made by ourselves and other Barcombe locals for the stall. A three-line whip is given to partners to be on the ‘door’!. Oh, and a few antiques also seem to change hands . . .
The Grasshoppers go walking
I tend to say ‘no’ whenever someone asks if I will climb something or jump out of anything for charity, but I was caught unawares one Saturday when someone from Action HQ came to the Antiques Fair and asked if we would like to do a ‘plod’ (now known as Trek the Night). I had forgotten that Fran was with us - who never says ‘no’ to any challenge - and before I knew it, she had volunteered us to walk 40 miles along the South Downs Way starting at midnight! So, having recruited a few more on an off guard moment at a Christmas party ‘The Grasshoppers’ were formed (Cellie, Sophie, Sandy, Fran, Francesca and myself)! After much training over the beautiful South Downs we at last set off in the dark drizzle very nervously, having been dropped by David, my husband. The Seven Sisters nearly did us in but we all got there in the end! Since then I have managed to avoid being too close to Fran whenever anything requiring a lot of effort is proposed . . .
Davina on her Bike
Our branch of Action also runs the food stop for ‘Davina’s Big Sussex Bike Ride’ at Horam Golf Club. It’s always nice to be met by a cheery smile, a hug and a coffee from Steve who owns the club. He makes up the High 5, sorts the urn and gets the full English breakfasts going for his golfing regulars! Cellie, Sophie and I run around sorting out the food delivery and plying Josh (our marshall on the roadside) with coffee. Before we know it the first cyclist has wheeled in! From then it’s full on with tea and coffee, flapjacks, bananas and jelly babies – hardly enough time to catch up with the gossip - and then suddenly they have all gone again. Having said goodbye to the stragglers and Steve we are relieved to get back into our cars and drive home!
On the other side of the Table
Some Action volunteers also run brilliant Gift Fairs around the country. It seemed strange to be on the ‘other side of the table’ (as last year I set up a business selling cashmere cardigans and jumpers) but I booked a table at the ‘Ramster Gift Fair’ last October. My daughter came along to help on the café and we had a very enjoyable couple of days. These are big events to organise and one knows how much work all the Head Office and local volunteers put in to these events.
Volunteering for Action Medical Research has been great fun over the years and allowed me to do all sorts of things that I would never usually have done; it is wonderful to see that the funds raised have helped medical research in so many ways.
Feeling inspired? Find out more about volunteering opportunities here.
Misty Cashmere and Action Medical Research Special Offer
Last year Chloe launched a new business venture called ‘Misty Cashmere’. If anyone would like to buy a cardigan or jumper from her site they can use the code ACTION10 to get a 10% discount and £10 will be donated to Action Medical Research on each garment sold.