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Colin and Sue raise over £20,000 for Farleigh

Colin Herbert and his wife Sue have been supporting Farleigh Hospice for 30 years. He explains how - with a bit of imagination and some much-loved union jack swimming trunks - the couple and their family and friends have raised well over £20,000 for Farleigh.

“After our son Daniel had problems with his health when he was young, Sue and I wanted to raise money for a charity that serves the local community, so we decided to support Farleigh Hospice. It cares for so many people at its hospice building and in their own homes, so if you don’t know someone who’s been helped by Farleigh now, you will do in the future.

I used to go to Farleigh once a month at its old building in London Road to run bingo for the day patients and this brought back memories of when my best man had end of life care there, so we also have a personal connection which motivates us to keep raising money.

When Sue and I were running the constitutional club in Witham, we did a few things there including a New Year’s weigh-in where people who’d put on weight over Christmas were sponsored to lose it again with the money going to Farleigh.

I ran a bingo session on a Monday night with one house called the Hospice Hustle which raised money for our hospice pot. We also held a raffle where most of the prizes were donated. We did that every week and, thanks to the generosity of our members, the club would give Farleigh a cheque for about £2,000 each year.

I’ve had a beard for 40-odd years. I’ve only shaved it off twice – once for my wedding and once to support Farleigh Hospice!

Our whole family gets involved with the fundraising. When Daniel was 8 or 9, he broke his arm playing football and asked for a white plaster cast so he could charge people to sign it to raise money for Farleigh.

We left the constitutional club in 2001 and I became a taxi driver. Over the years, I’ve driven lots of people in and out of Farleigh who were going there for treatment and support or to visit their loved ones. They’ve all had the same high opinion of the hospice and the people who work there.

Sue and I are quite keen gardeners and we are into making hanging baskets so we decided to get our garden done up. A mate suggested that we have a party there afterwards, so we had a few friends over and raised £137.

It’s gradually progressed from there. We now make about 100 hanging baskets a year and any money we make from selling them goes to Farleigh Hospice. Our time comes free and we also price them so when people ask how much, they get a couple of quid change and they say ‘put that in your pot too’.

We’ve been running our garden party for 18 or 19 years now - apart from when Covid hit and one year because of the weather. We’ve only got a little garden and half of it’s full up with vegetables, but this year we managed to get 60-odd people in and we’ve had our best ever result, raising £2,400!

It’s a family effort and I’ve got good neighbours and friends that help too. My daughter Penny runs our little bar and Daniel, who’s a chef, does the cooking on the barbecue with my best mate.

We have a silly game to get people started, like ‘how many coins in a pot?’ – I put 50p coins in the top and smaller ones in the bottom to make it harder to guess! This year, we had well over 100 prizes donated for our raffle and held an auction afterwards.

When we started our parties, Penny bought me a pair of union jack swimming trunks from Peacocks that cost £6 out of her pocket money and we auctioned them. Every year since, whoever gets them brings them back and they go up for auction again. Those £6 shorts must have raised hundreds of pounds - I just regret not asking people to take a photo of themselves wearing them each time!

I’m not sure how much we’ve raised in total for Farleigh over the years but our garden parties alone have raised around £18,500. We are very lucky to have the support of our family, neighbours and other friends - none of this would have been possible without them.

I’d encourage anyone thinking of raising money for Farleigh to give it a go, as the hospice cannot carry on caring for local people without fundraising and donations. Our advice is to always make the most of every opportunity to raise more money. We’ve found that our most successful events are when we do something that we both enjoy and that our friends and family are interested in and happy to support.

Everyone tells us how much they look forward to our garden party each year. Sue and I put a lot of effort into organising it but it’s always worth it when we count the money and find out how much we’ve raised for Farleigh!”

If you would like to get more info on how you can raise funds for Farleigh Hospice, please email our fundraising department.