£1,000 charity effort - thanks to Voice

Published on: 26 Aug 2016

Team

A STORY in Downend Voice has prompted a team of office workers to raise more than £1,000 for charity.
Emersons Green resident and customer service manager Andy Hunt read an article in the June edition about a group of residents who have been raising money for the charity Variety to buy a minibus to take disabled and disadvantaged children on trips.
Andy, who works at the Kingswood branch of Swinton Insurance, decided to get in touch and offer a donation of £300.
But he was so inspired by their impressive fundraising efforts he organised a sponsored walk, which has raised a further £1,200 for the cause.
Andy, 45, said: "One of our customers, Anne Keen Arnold, had spoken to our branch the same week as I read a story in Downend Voice where it was mentioned she was involved with the charity Variety.
"I thought 'Hang on, I know that name. Where do I know it from?' I then realised she is one of our clients. I thought the charity seemed like a really worthwhile cause so I got in touch to initially offer a donation of £300 from Swinton. I then realised how genuine they were and how determined they are to reach their target and decided to do more."
Andy enlisted the help of his fellow workers and decided to organise a 4.5-mile sponsored walk from the Kingswood branch to the Bedminster branch.
Andy and colleagues Laura Whitehurst, Cara Mellor, Vicky Cole, Megan Nash and Josh Hares had intended to walk just one way but had such a great time they hiked all the way back to Kingswood.
They were joined by Variety Ambassador and Downend resident Dave Hook and fellow fundraisers Tracy Hook, Julie Houselander, Jan St George and Kirsty Hook, who have organised numerous fundraising events, including a ladies lunch and pub Olympics, to reach their £18,000 target.
Andy said: "Because we were wearing Swinton and Variety T-shirts, we really stood out so cars were beeping in support and people stopped to make donations. It was amazing."
A total of £1,201 was raised which includes a 50 per cent match by Swinton Insurance.
"I'm over the moon with what we raised and there's still some more money to come in," said Andy.
"I've never done anything like this before but it's so rewarding to know that you've made a difference.
"The reputation of charities has taken a knock and it's the same with insurance so it's really good for us to get involved like this.
"My children are 12 and 15 and take day trips to the beach or to watch football for granted but when you hear Variety takes children from disadvantaged backgrounds out for the day and it's the best trip they've ever had, it makes you realise what a difference the charity is
making."
Fundraiser Tracy Hook said: "Andy and his team are great guys and it is a real privilege and asset to have them on board. Their generosity and support is so appreciated."

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