Meet the woman behind the bucket raising money for cystic fibrosis over 20 years
- Credit: Archant
After 19 years of fundraising, one woman’s determined charity campaign will not stop until she has raised £100,000 to help her cousin and the fight against a gentic disorder. MATTHEW FARMER reports...
Over the last two decades, one charity campaigner has raised almost £60,000 to fight the disorder endangering her cousin's life.
But Sharon Moore, 49, is cheerful as she explains the lengths she goes to. She lives in Great Ryburgh, and works at a Fakenham accountancy firm, but in her spare time, she is repsonsible for bingo nights, quiz sheets, fashion shows, and many other fundraisers besides.
On a sunny Tuesday, Miss Moore took time out of her lunch break to talk about the work she does, why she does it, and how she maintains her enthusiasm for it.
She said: "I want to give it all 100 pc, otherwise there's no point. I call it my part time job, but it's a sorry state of affairs if you can't give up some time for something you are passionate about."
Miss Moore's cousin, Donna Leaver, has cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition affecting the production of mucus in the lungs and digestive system. Miss Leaver was diagnosed with the life-changing condition in 1982, at six weeks old. Miss Moore said of her: "She has never let it hold her back, and she never complains.
"At school, we were asked to write about something which scared us, and I wrote about how I was scared my cousin might die. It's the only time I ever got an A!"
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In 2000, Miss Leaver turned 18, and to mark the day Miss Moore decided to raise £1000. She started by making a quiz sheet, which raised her first £360. She then hosted two bingo nights, raising the total to £1060, and has not stopped since.
Miss Moore still does bingo nights and quiz sheets, and said: "Looking back, the first quiz sheet was quite rubbish compared to the ones now. But it kickstarted everything!".
Over the next years, she has raised £59,000 from events such as the Fakenham Christmas Tree Festival, where she has decorated a tree with her family every year since the second festival.
"I have a huge band of people who help by donating prizes, setting up, or just turning up. We often have the same faces turn up at bingo nights, and we have have had the same caller since the start, but this is his last year. I want to raise £75,000 by 2030. And I'm going to get it... with support."
In April, Miss Moore rasied another £500 with staff at MHA Larking Gowen, where she works. The 340 staff across the county raised money with their monthly 'dress down day', and Miss Moore said: "I'm really pleased they let me do the fundraising. I told people for £2 they could enter to win a hamper and we had 170 names in the raffle."
Asked who donated the hamper, she said: "Oh, I made it myself. I haven't been fundraising for 19 years and not picked up a few tricks."
"One day I was walking through the town, when someone shouted 'Hey, are you the cystic fibrosis lady?'. They didn't know my name, but did know me from the fundraising. There are worse things to be called."
"Donations have made a huge difference to people's lives. Since I started fundraising, the average life expectancy of people with cystic fibrosis has increased by about 10 years, and their quality of life is a lot better. Donna has a four-year-old son, which she never thought would happen."
Miss Moore seems much too enthusiastic to consider and end to her fundraising, but she has been caused to consider it. She said "A colleague asked me if I'd ever stop, and I told them 'We'll see at £100,000'.
"My aunt sometimes says 'Why not take a year off', but I just tell her no. When people stop supporting me, then I will give up." She knocks on the table: "But, touch wood, it will never happen."