A CHARITABLE trust fund set up in memory of Kingsclere toddler Rodney Lawrence, who died in a garden pond accident four years ago, has raised more than £40,000 in a year
Launched in September 2013 by the family of the three-year-old, The Rodney Lawrence Trust aims to help young people achieve their goals, source play equipment for local groups and help children and families faced with life-threatening conditions.
Rodney’s uncle, Craig Gundry, said the money had been raised through the hard work and determination of friends, family and the general public.
He said: “Starting a charity from a penny donation has been challenging and stressful at times, often taking over our lives. There is nothing more rewarding than making a child smile.”
A further boost came after Marks & Spencer’s Newbury branch announced the trust was its chosen charity for 2014.
Trustees recently received a £3,000 cheque after M&S, together with LK Hair, Shaw, held a fashion show, with hair treatments by LK Hair, raffle, Champagne and mince pies.
Mr Gundry revealed the M&S (Newbury) charity for 2015 would be the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance.
Mr Gundry, whose own fundraisers have included making Straw Tots, said: “The air ambulance was first to arrive on that tragic day when my nephew Rodney drowned.”
Funding provided by the trust includes a seizure alarm mattress for a girl affected by meningitis, a girl’s educational trip to Uganda, and wish granting for children with illness and disabilities.
It has also paid the travel costs for Kingsclere dance group Feel the Beat to attend a dance challenge in Kent, where they won five awards; purchased new computers for Warren pre-school in Bishops Green, and a new play area for Busy Bees pre-school in Kingsclere.
The trust’s fundraisers have included Winchester Tough Mudder, Bupa Great South West Run, glider flights, a sky dive, swimming with sharks, car boot sales, pamper evenings, netball tournaments, themed evenings and boxing and darts competitions.
Mr Gundry said: “We are truly grateful for all the local shops and pubs that have supported our trust by holding one of our collection boxes, particularly Claire French of the George and Horn pub, Kingsclere, who endlessly supports our trust in numerous fundraisers.”
A psychic evening is planned at the Portal Hall, Burghclere, on Saturday, December 6, with medium Darren Higgins. Tickets cost £15 on the door and there will be a licensed bar.
Donations can also be made by texting TRLT07, followed by the amount, to 70070.