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Is anyone you know among Gina Long’s charity heroes?

PUBLISHED: 08:17 21 June 2017

Thanks to the Papworth Trust volunteers

Thanks to the Papworth Trust volunteers


Name-checked are Molly Jarvis, whose dad Craig owns Ravenwood Hall; Papworth Trust; Encore Wellness; Bury St Edmunds accountants RSM; Lacy Scott Knight; Maison Bleue; Tippers R Us; Genesis PR; Ipswich Families in Need, and more

fun and competition at the 
RSM netball tournament held at Culford School fun and competition at the RSM netball tournament held at Culford School

I write this just as National Volunteers Week is drawing to a close. Most of our charities, national and local alike, could simply not manage without a fantastic team of volunteers who do so much good in our community.

Whether it is helping charities on a day-to-day basis or running awareness stalls or fundraising events, I salute them all. And when one of our volunteer fundraisers is so young, it makes it all the more special.

Step forward Molly Jarvis, who at the tender age of 14 has also achieved so much for so many.

Kind-hearted Molly offered to donate one of her paintings to my Secret Garden Ball auction last year and the Finborough School pupil was left stunned when it sold for £1,800.

Molly, whose dad Craig owns Ravenwood Hall and the family’s own Ravenwood Children’s Trust, told me: “My Dad does a lot of charity work and I enjoy helping charities and supporting their work.

“I offered the painting for GeeWizz and it was amazing that it went for so much money that helps local families.”

Molly is a fine example of the difference volunteering can make – and she is just one of so many fantastic stories across Suffolk.

Molly Jarvis - what an example! Molly Jarvis - what an example!

Disability charity Papworth Trust this month saluted all their volunteers at their centre in Foundation Street, Ipswich, where I am also told that visitors to the event even got to see a dress rehearsal of the centre’s upcoming production of Grease!

I recently attended the Needham Raft Race, another event that wouldn’t be possible without so many hard-working volunteers.

I met the wonderful Julie Kett, who told me the race was first held to coincide with the Queen’s Jubilee but has now become a popular annual event, raising money for a host of local charities.

Julie said: “I think the success of the event is because it is good fun – exactly what raising money for charity should be about. We are all volunteers and get a lot out of it, not least because we are supporting so many different charities.”

My own charity, GeeWizz, was a beneficiary of the raft race through the continued support of Duncan and Kara Foster and Kara’s company Encore Wellness.

This was part of a fantastic few weeks for GeeWizz, with Bury St Edmunds company RSM organising a charity netball tournament, with a rounders tournament to follow.

Edward Crichton and the partners at Lacy Scott Knight organised a charity auction to coincide with an official opening of their extension, raising £7,100. Pascal and Karine Canevet and the Maison Bleue team in Bury St Edmunds hosted a charity art show and raised £2,300. Thank you just doesn’t seem enough.

At Needham Market raft race. Duncan Foster, from Encore Wellness, is on the left, with Lee Godfree on the right At Needham Market raft race. Duncan Foster, from Encore Wellness, is on the left, with Lee Godfree on the right

It was also great to be contacted by the Jude Brady Foundation, in Ipswich, who have also been incredibly supported.

Swimmer Andrew Coltart has recently agreed to become a patron for the charity. Andrew has supported various golfing events over the years but most recently supported and attended an event the charity held in North Berwick to raise funds for a six-year-old girl suffering from Acute Flaccid Myelitis.

This raised £15,260, which I know the charity were thrilled about.

The foundation are also raffling off the last place to play alongside World Long Drive Champion Joe Miller at their golf day on Friday, June 30. Details can be found via

My charity work puts me into daily contact with lots of amazing people, many of whom I am proud to call dear friends.

Guy Nicholls and his team at Tippers R Us are real unsung heroes who do so much for so many.

I was also fortunate to learn about a truly amazing charity cycle ride in support of Kieran Horgan, from the Bury St Edmunds area, who suffers from cerebral palsy and now needs specialist equipment to support him and his family.

Friends Jenny Gray and Gem Carter will be taking on a 419-mile bike ride from Bury St Edmunds to Lands End to raise money for a new wheelchair for Kieran, with any proceeds left over being donated to Scope.

For more information, visit

With warm weather now truly upon us, as I write this, the various village open gardens are a feature of the summer months. Many of them have a charity aspect as well, like tomorrow’s fabulous Hidden Gardens of Bury, which is supporting St Nicholas Hospice Care.

It runs from 11am to 5pm. Maps can be picked up on Angel Hill.

Penny Arbuthnot and her team of colleagues from Genesis are taking part in this year’s Orwell Walk on June 25 to raise funds for their nominated charity, Ipswich Families in Need (FIND). They are doing a year of fundraising, volunteering and pro bono PR support.

FIND is an amazing charity that works with local families and individuals affected by poverty, providing food, household items, furniture, bedding, etc free of charge to those in need. The charity, which has provided a lifeline for many over the past 25 years, also runs a foodbank in Ipswich. However, they are always finding it difficult to make ends meet, so desperately need all the help they can get.

Penny would be very grateful if you could help boost support for FIND by sponsoring the Genesis team on their 12-mile Orwell Walk. We understand there are many local charities needing support but any help would be much appreciated. You can donate via

If you have a Suffolk-based charity event you would like me to feature, email me on Gina Long MBE is founder of the East Anglian-based GeeWizz charity.

The Trianon Music Group is performing the first of its 2018 community concerts in Essex this weekend.

Best-selling children’s author Nick Butterworth visited Ipswich today to officially open the Lodge Day Nursery.

The Felixstowe Fairtrade Forum has come up with an unusual way of promoting events for the upcoming Fairtrade Fortnight.

Markedly fewer people are smoking within the grounds of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals since vaping zones were introduced, bosses have said.

Almost 200 campaigners marched through Chelmsford city centre to protest against plans to merge three Essex hospitals.

A deal which is hoped to breathe new life into Suffolk’s only railway pier was agreed today after months of fundraising by the community.

The equivalent of 92 ambulance staff shifts were lost in January due to delays at A&E in Suffolk and north Essex, it has been revealed.

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