The Bellhouse Belles – Pauline Donald, Valerie Bunting, Rebecca Burnham, Kish Raval, Amanda Gray, started fundraising for Havens Hospices, which includes Little Havens Hospice, Fair Havens Hospice and The J’s Hospice, in 2015. As they enter their fifth year of fundraising, the group of friends decided to make their fundraising efforts extra special by raffling a diamond
Pauline Donald, 43, from Ramsden Bellhouse in Billericay is a Personal Trainer and started doing the charity’s annual Havens to Havens Walk to encourage her friends in their get-fit goals and the group have done it every year since.
Each year the Bellhouse Belles have been one of the highest fundraising teams at the Havens to Havens Walk; raising between £1000 and £4000 every year for the charity to help them continue providing free, specialist care to adults, young people and children with life-limiting illnesses across Essex.
Pauline explains “We first did the walk to keep fit and found that doing it together was a lot of fun so decided to make it an annual get-together. We didn’t raise very much for the charity the first time we did it but after having a tour of Little Havens we felt really inspired to support them in a variety of ways – Mum [Val Bunting] even started volunteering at Little Havens.”
Following the tour, the Bellhouse Belles have gone on to become the highest fundraisers of the Havens to Havens Walk every year. This year, the group decided they wanted to try and raise a record amount and gave themselves a target of £5,000 to commemorate not only five years of fundraising, but also the final walk between Little Havens and the current Fair Havens Hospice before the charity moves to their new home opposite Priory Park.
To help hit their target, the Belles decided to raffle a diamond with a little help from a friend who would like to remain anonymous who generously helped the group buy the diamond and Coleby’s Jewellers in Billericay who supplied the jewel at cost and has offered to set it for the winner free of charge.
Tickets to win the round brilliant cut diamond were £10 and the group had a lot of interest from their local community in Ramsden Bellhouse, Billericay and also from friends, family and work colleagues.
Pauline explains, “We wanted to raise as much money as possible this year and knew that holding a unique raffle like this would definitely help us get close, if not hit our target. I am absolutely thrilled that we were able to organise this and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us and helped us raise such a wonderful amount of money for a charity that we all hold dear.”
Drawing the raffle, which was held at the shop owned by Bellhouse Belle Kish Raval, was Events Fundraiser at Havens Hospices – Cathryn Wood.
Cathryn said, “I’d like to thank everyone who has bought tickets to the Bellhouse Belles and for all of their support over the past five years. You truly are Havens Heroes and the money you’ve raised will help us continue “Making every day count” for everyone we care for across Essex.”
The lucky winner of the diamond which is valued at £2000 was Sarah Robinson.
Sarah from Billericay said “It was a real surprise to win, I don’t usually win anything! I know how much Pauline and her Mum support Havens Hospices, when she told me the raffle, I thought it was a great idea. I just had to buy a ticket and help them raise vital funds for such an amazing charity.
“I have decided to get a diamond ring made up to give to my little girl when she celebrates a big birthday. Although I won’t ever get to wear my winnings, I will get to share the lovely story with my daughter of how the ring came to be made for her birthday and how it helped raise money for charity”
The Bellhouse Belles raised a glittering £3000 through the raffle, bringing their grand total since 2016 to £10,000
Pauline said, “We are all absolutely thrilled that we have been able to hit such a huge milestone and that by doing something we enjoy we are helping Havens Hospices make a difference for the families they care for. I would like to thank everyone who has sponsored us or supported us over the past five years to help us raise such a wonderful amount of money for a wonderful charity. I would also like to thank my fellow Belles who make the walk so enjoyable every year, it is a pleasure fundraising with you all and I look forward to our next challenge next year!”
If you’ve been inspired by The Bellhouse Belles and would like to find out how you and friends, family or work colleagues can fundraise your way to help Havens Hospices continue to provide free specialist care to adults, children and young people with life-limiting illnesses across Essex please click here.