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Gina Long picture update.

Gina Long picture update. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Wishing you could raise money for a favourite cause but don’t know where to start? Want everyone to know about your charity event but don’t know how to get the word out?

gina long page

gina long page - Credit: Archant

Or simply want to thank those who have raised money for your cause?

Gandhi’s belief that “service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth” has always resonated with Gina Long, and here she spreads the charity message a little further with her new column.

The fundraiser, from Fornham St Martin, near Bury St Edmunds, has been raising money for causes dear to her heart since she was 13 when she did a 24-hour swimathon in Ipswich to raise money for a local school for children with special needs.

Since then, her charity work has become a huge part of her life.

gina long page

gina long page - Credit: Archant

Gina was one of the founder members of Breakthrough Breast Cancer Suffolk which she set up with six friends after one of them, Sally Balch, who sadly died in 2004, was diagnosed. They’ve since raised £976,000.

Since then, the online charity auctions Gina organises each year, one of which famously saw José Mourinho donate his Fifa Ballon d’Or (Coach of the World award) after Gina rang him 80 times!, have so far raised over £700,000 for Breakthrough, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and EACH, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices.

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There have also been balls, sponsored walks, swims, lunches, ‘you name it’, says Gina, who is currently chair of EACH Special events committee and has also chaired the Prince’s Trust Suffolk Fund Raising Committee.

With all her experience, Gina is regularly asked for advice about fundraising and how to go about it. “That’s why I thought this column might be helpful,” she says. “I will be sharing fundraising tips with you on my page each month.

“More importantly, I would like to tell readers what other charity fundraising events are happening in Suffolk.

“Every charity relies on volunteers, who choose to do what they do for charity because of their ‘personal passion or reason’ for wanting to get involved in the first place.

“So many of us want to give back in life and make a little difference by either helping or creating a fundraising idea.

“Raising any amount of money for charity is simply fantastic, albeit quite daunting from the start. But with the right idea, support from one’s friends, family or work colleagues, plus the essential ingredients of a positive attitude, imagination and hard work, you will be amazed how soon the money starts coming in.”

Gina has just one rule about fundraising: charity work should always be fun. “My most important rule about fundraising is, that the day it’s not ‘FUN’draising I must stop. So, just enjoy it!” she says.

Walk this way or ride your bike

Ipswich East Rotary Club is holding their 39th Orwell Walk and Cycle Ride, on Sunday, June 21.

The Walk will offer three routes with checkpoints every two to three miles. The routes are Levington Loop (12 miles), Fishponds Folly (19 miles) or Orwell 25 (25 miles). Entry Fee is £15 for adults and £10 for children aged 12 and under. For walkers, HQ opens at 7am and the last departure for the full 25 miles is 9am. Those walking a shorter route may leave up until 10:30am.

The Orwell Cycle Ride also offers three routes, a short route (5 miles), medium route (15 miles) and the full Orwell Cycle route of 27 miles.Entry Fee is £15 for adults and £10 for children 12 years and under.

For cyclists, HQ will open at 8am. The last departure for the full 27 miles is 9am, but those riding one of the shorter routes may leave up to 10am. There are regular checkpoints along the way with free refreshments. Volunteers from Ipswich East Rotary Club, their Associate Members and the St John Ambulance are on hand. Last year’s walk was attended by almost 2,000 people. Both the Orwell Walk and Cycle will begin and end at Gainsborough Sports Club where there will be ample free parking.

More information available hereFancy a stroll?

Bonk Tasker from Suffolk Breakthrough Breast Cancer is preparing for her 10th Walk on the Westside.

The Walk, which has raised nearly £40,000 to date, is on Thursday May 14 at Ickworth House.

Most walkers dress in pink and it is a sight to behold when they’re together at the start.

Walkers can choose a four or 11 mile relaxed walk through Ickworth House National Trust grounds.

The registration donation of £35 includes morning coffee, water, walk snack and lunch. Once again Michael Knox Johnston is kindly supporting this very special fundraiser and is opening the doors at The Ickworth Hotel for a delicious post-walk lunch.

Any questions, feel free to call Bonk Tasker 07802 744884 or email her

Kate Paul and friends are organising the 2nd Walk on the Waterside in aid of Suffolk Breakthrough on June 16.

They will start at Jimmy’s Farm, Wherstead, and their 13-mile walk (approximately) will cover a scenic route through Wherstead and Tattingstone.

They will also take in the beautiful nature reserve of Alton Water, finishing back at Jimmy’s Farm for a well-deserved lunch.

Everyone taking part is encouraged to ‘GO PINK’ - the more outrageous, the better!

You can register here. The registration donation of £25 includes morning coffee, water, walk snack and lunch.

For more information contact Kate PaulBig match to support children’s hospice

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) are delighted to confirm they are one of the beneficiaries of the newly resurrected Hospital Cup, which is due to be played on Thursday April 30 between Ipswich Town and Norwich City.

The match is at Under 16 level at Portman Road.

Kick off is at 7pm with proceeds going to charity.

Town’s Academy manager, Bryan Klug told me, “The Hospital Cup has a rich history with this football club and it’s great to see it back.

“It’s a special game whenever we play Norwich, at whatever level, and I’m sure it will be a great occasion, especially for the boys involved who will be getting their first chance to play at Portman Road.

“It’s also a chance for us to raise funds for such a worthy cause in East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices.”

Tickets are priced at £5 per adult, £3 concessions and £1 U16s and can be purchased under Club EventsFor sponsorship and hospitality opportunities email Simon MiltonSpotlight on Friends Groups

Friends Groups are groups of volunteers who get together on a regular basis to have fun while raising funds for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH). They provide a vital link to the local community and help to raise the charity’s profile.

The Woodbridge Friends of EACH was launched in 2013 and brings together 12 volunteers who live in the Woodbridge, Melton and Martlesham areas.

They run a programme of fundraising events throughout the year; help to raise the profile of EACH in the local area and carry out supermarket collections.

They also manage collection pots in pubs, shops and cafes in the Woodbridge area.

Upcoming events include a quiz night at Seckford Golf Club on April 15, the Woodbridge Carnival on July 4 and the EACH annual carol service at St John’s Church, Woodbridge which is planned for December 16. The biggest fundraiser of the year, however, will be a lunch with special guest, Martha Kearney of BBC Radio 4’s The World at One, on November 6 at The Hanger at Kesgrave Hall.

Watch this space for the EACH website for more details.

West Suffolk Hospital

• Work begins at West Suffolk Hospital on the dementia memory walk funded by the Forget-Me-Not Dementia Campaign. Supported by the EADT, it has so far raised over £58,000. Ipswich Town Legends v Forget-Me-Not FC is on April 26 at Bury Town (3pm).

• The Walk for Wards returns in May and It’s a Bury Knockout is on July 26 at Hardwick Heath.

• The fracture clinic now has a silent paediatric saw thanks to Andy Manning and Langham Pensions and Investments Ltd.

• Frames Conservatories Direct ‘s campaign for Rainbow Ward aims to raise £12,000 for heart monitors.

Best party in Suffolk for soldiers’ charity

Milsoms Kesgrave Hall are preparing for THE most exciting fundraising party of 2015 in aid of The Soldiers Charity.

There’s still time to get your hands on a ticket to the best party in Suffolk in 2015 but be quick as there’s only a handful remaining.

Milsom Hotels are putting on a fabulous party in The Hangar at Kesgrave Hall on Friday May 8 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

The star turn will be the 35 members of the Band of the Parachute Regiment who will travel from their barracks in Colchester to entertain guests.

Paul Milsom, managing director of Milsom Hotels & Restaurants, told me: “The idea of celebrating VE Day is not new to us; 30 years ago my father Gerald Milsom organised a similar party at Le Talbooth to mark the 40th anniversary of VE Day.

“For its time, this was a hugely ambitious event on both lawns, screens playing newsreels and fly pass by a Spitfire (which had to be cancelled due to torrential rain!).

“This year, we are incredibly lucky to have secured The Band of the Parachute Regiment to Beat the Retreat and perform the Sunset Ceremony on the front lawn during the Champagne reception, hence the reason we’ve chosen The Soldiers’ Charity as our charity for the evening.

“We’re really looking forward to it.”

Guests at Kesgrave Hall are encouraged to enter into the spirit by dressing in military uniform, 1940s’ attire or black tie, and maybe turn up in military vehicles and classic cars for an eye-catching arrival.

Further entertainment will be a 1940s singer, exhibition dancers, an 11-piece Big Band and a DJ. Executive chef Stuart Oliver is putting on a delicious three-course dinner.

Don’t worry! There’ll be no rationing on the menu.

Tickets are available for just £120 per person. Call the Kesgrave Hall switchboard on 01473 333741 today to book your place or send them an email.

Red for Fred

Teams at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Fred. Olsen Ltd. and Fred. Olsen Travel, all based on the Whitehouse Industrial Estate in Ipswich, held a ‘Dress Down Day’ – with a ‘Hint of Red’ as the theme for Comic Relief.

They also held a ‘cake bake sale’ and made their faces ‘funny for money’.

Fred Olsen also sponsors the Mayor of Ipswich’s Charity Ball and donated the Star Auction Prize for the fourth year in a row, helping to raise £1,350 by donating an amazing seven-night ‘Norwegian Fjords’ cruise.

This year the Mayor of Ipswich’s Charity Ball raised £8,000 for the Mayor’s three charities.

These are: The Alzheimer’s Society, Suffolk Family Carers, and the RSPCA – East Suffolk and Ipswich Branch.

To see your charity fundraising featured in ea life, email Gina giving a brief outline of your upcoming or past charity event or fundraiser, along with a supporting photo.

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