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Fundraiser Mandy Hearle taps into power of pound with dance event in Woodbridge to launch new appeal

Mandy Hearle, dressed as her MSF character PING, launches Tapping Without Borders with fellow members of her Woodbridge tap class. Photo: Gerry Spiller.

Mandy Hearle, dressed as her MSF character PING, launches Tapping Without Borders with fellow members of her Woodbridge tap class. Photo: Gerry Spiller.


Another hectic year of charity action gets underway for a celebrated Suffolk fundraiser this month.

Never restrained in her ambition to help Médecins sans Frontieres (MSF), Mandy Hearle is dreaming big asking everyone in the country to donate their last round pound before the coin leaves circulation.

First, she will don her tap shoes for a dance display and have-a-go session at Woodbridge Community Hall, from 2.30pm on Sunday, January 29.

Mandy, of Melton, will also set up stall for her Books Without Borders project launched a year ago at the library, where stickers were attached to secondhand books, inviting readers to text (or PING) a pound for MSF.

Dance instructor Jill Streatfeild suggested the ‘Tapping Without Borders’ event, where she will be exhibiting and selling art by her late uncle, Ian Bryant, discovered during a clearance of his former Kent home.

Visitors can give tap a try after a demonstration by the beginners and improvers classes of Woodbridge and Otley. Meanwhile, Mandy will be promoting her #lastroundpoundforpoverty appeal for everyone to donate their last round pounds, which will be phased out over six months by a new 12-sided coin from late March.

She also intends to kick-start another project, which will see her cycle the circumference of Suffolk on a ‘Pedalmajig’ – to be designed by local schoolchildren.

“I want children to send me their designs, which we’ll whittle down to 100 before unveiling a winner,” said Mandy, who came up with a bright red PING character to promote her fundraising for MSF.

“The trip is planned for September. I’m not sure how long it will take, but I’d like to stop along the way and have a PING party at the end.

“In the summer, I’ll be taking jam jars to local businesses for customers to fill up with pound coins.”

Mandy began fundraising in 2014, when she accepted a daily sponsored dare for Mission Possible inspired by local teenager Poppy Harvey, who suffered a fatal allergic reaction in 2010 before realising her dream of becoming an MSF doctor.

Mandy’s ultimate aim is to fund an inflatable hospital for MSF doctors in war zones and disaster areas.

Dubbed ‘Ingeborg the Inflatable’ by Mandy after a Germanic god and a Scandinavian name meaning ‘rescue’ the hospital costs about £1.4million.

Mandy, who has raised more than £20,000 for MSF, said: “If everyone in the country gave a pound, we’d be raining hospitals. I see every pound as a puff for the inflatable hospital!”

Suffolk Sport’s Fit Villages scheme will be present at the Tapping Without Borders event, where the cost of venue hire has been covered by Places for People Leisure Mandy’s employer at the Deben Pool.

You can donate a pound to the cause by texting PING65£1 to 70070, or visit ping65.com for more information.

A number of schools have already announced plans to close across Suffolk and north Essex this morning after snowy weather hit the region.

Snow lovers will be delighted to hear that Suffolk and Essex could be getting a second flurry of the white stuff later today.

The parents of a six-year-old boy, who died from Meningitis B, are campaigning for a vaccination programme to be rolled out to all children.

Motorists are being warned of disruption on the region’s roads this morning as snow turns into ice following a weekend wintry blast.

Kesgrave High School will be closed today after a major power failure.

Multi-platinum selling artist Craig David has been announced as the first act for next year’s Newmarket Nights.

Residents will be asked for their views on a potential merger between the district councils of Babergh and Mid Suffolk.

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