A CREATIVE fundraiser from Alcester has put away her coffee mugs and polished off her gin glasses to host a Macmillan Coffee Morning with a twist.
Instead of coffee and cake, 50-year-old Sarah Fountain is hosting ‘Gin for Macmillan’ today (Friday) – a chance to gather her friends and family together for a tipple while raising vital funds for charity.
Sarah first held her ‘Gin for Macmillan’ event in 2016, having hosted several coffee mornings in previous years. This will be the seventh year that some 50 friends and family come together in her kitchen.
Over the last six years, Sarah’s adapted coffee morning, one of which was virtual due to the Covid lockdown, has raised over £6,500 supporting people affected by cancer.
Some would say that fundraising is in the genes when it comes to Sarah’s family and their connection to Macmillan. Their story dates all the way back to 1952 when Sarah’s grandmother, Vi Pickering, set up a Macmillan fundraising committee in Middlesbrough in the North East.
Sarah said: “Back then, Macmillan was known as Cancer Relief, and the charity was looking to have a regional presence outside of London and so contacted members of the ‘Business & Professional Women’s Organisation’ to see if there was an appetite to fundraise for them.
“As chair of the Middlesbrough B&P, my grandmother jumped at the chance and held regular fundraising coffee mornings, annual cheese and wine events (it was the 1970s after all) as well as envelope street collections as it was back then in Middlesbrough town centre, all with my grandfather, Geoff, as part of their newly formed committee.”
In 1999 Sarah’s grandfather was awarded the Chairman’s Medal from Macmillan Cancer Support acknowledging the couple’s exceptional fundraising over the decades.
Sarah’s grandmother passed away in 1984 but her grandfather continued to support Macmillan after moving to Birmingham. He joined the Kings Heath Committee, of which Sarah’s mum, Judith Cockerill, was a member and continued the work.
Sarah continued: “This year’s gin night will be extra special as it will be 70 years since the establishment of the Middlesbrough committee and its first fundraiser was hosted by my grandparents.
“You can certainly see where I get my social organising and fundraising skills from. Bringing people together, having fun, and raising important funds is something I just love doing, and I am thankful for the path my family has paved over the years which I have been able to follow, and take a few different turns along the way.
“When my Gin for Macmillan invitation went out a few weeks ago, a friend said, ‘it’s the village social event of the year’ which was so lovely to hear.”
Macmillan spokesperson Sarah Adwick said: “Sarah is such a dedicated fundraiser, and her creativity when it comes to coffee mornings is brilliant – swapping coffee for gin is a genius idea.
“We are so grateful for her and her families’ commitment to Macmillan over the years, and it really will be a special one this year, marking the 70th anniversary of the first Middlesbrough committee.
“This year will undoubtedly be another success in Sarah’s fundraising story for Macmillan and we can’t wait to hear how it all goes.”