Shock as two West Norfolk charities decide to call it a day
Two of West Norfolk’s biggest charities both made shock announcements this week that they are dissolving their fundraising activities.
The Companions of Park House and King’s Lynn Macmillan Cancer Support Committee released the news within hours of each other on Wednesday.
The Companions said the longrunning revamp of the unique Leonard Cheshire-run hotel for the disabled on the Sandringham Estate had contributed to the decision to disband the group.
A statement to members noted: “Whatever happens, it is likely to be very different from the Park House we all knew and loved.”
The Covid pandemic had a direct effect on Macmillan calling it a day.
The dedicated, small band of members has disbanded after fundraising income plummeted during lockdown.
Secretary Dorothy PulsfordHarris said it had been a hard, emotional decision to take but inevitable after a dramatic drop in donations.
In 55 years the committee has raised nearly £1.5 million. Until a couple of years ago, the committee
regularly raised up to £50,000 annually; so far in 2020 it’s about £11,000.
“We’re sad – it’s the end of an era," Dorothy said.
“It’s not until you have a family member who requires support that you realise the difference Macmillan makes.”
Much of the money raised has been used to support cancer patients and families in West Norfolk, paying towards the salaries of two Macmillan Nurses, and helping to fund the Macmillan Care and Treatment Centre at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The pandemic led to the cancellation of several committee fundraisers this year, including last week’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, a quiz last February, a quest speaker dinner at King’s Lynn Gold Club and a pre-Christmas tin shake at Tesco.
The committee has also suffered from not being able to attract younger people to join.
One of the founding members, Gloria Fenton, only stepped down this year. She and fellow founder Marie Jackson were recognised by Macmillan at the committee’s 50th anniversary dinner.
And at last months final committee meeting, Mrs Fenton was presented with a climbing Jasmine from fellow members and the Macmillan Rose from the charity.
Dorothy’s husband, Peter, has also been a mainstay of the committee, acting as treasurer forthe last 40 years
“An awful lot of work has been done over the last 55 years,” said Dorothy. “And we always prided ourselves that the bulk of the money stayed in West Norfolk.”
Area fundraising manager Michelle Hutchinsonpaid tribute and said: “A huge thank you to all the members of the King’s Lynn committee, past and present, for raising an incredible £1,474,075.02 in over half a century of fundraising.”
“The group’s dedication to raising funds and awareness for Macmillan’s specialist cancer services exemplify what our supporters can achieve when they come together, and will serve as a model for generations of fundraisers to come.”
And QEH deputy chief operating officer Sarah Jones said: “We would like to thank the King’s Lynn Macmillan Cancer Support Committee for their unwavering support over the last few years.”
Anyone with a collecting tin is asked to call 01553 631349 to arrange pick up of the item.