RAF man's fond farewell fundraiser brings in thousands for St Andrew's Children's Hospice
A GROUP raised £4,620 when an RAF man decided to hold a charity night instead of a leaving do before moving away.
Emma and Liam Hopcroft joined forces with friend Lynsey Chessman to raise money for St Andrew's Children's Hospice, where Lynsey's daughter Scarlett, 1, goes for daycare.
Scarlett has a rare syndrome called macrocephaly-capillary malformation – affecting just 200 people world-wide, resulting in blindness, delayed development and low muscle tone.
So when Liam, 27, heard he was moving to RAF Marham, instead of a leaving do he and wife Emma, 27, decided they would hold a charity night at the Smuggler's Inn, Cleethorpes.
Liam said: "Us RAF boys are always moving about and I didn't want all the attention, so we decided to do something positive instead."
The idea spiraled out of control and before they knew it, there was an almost endless supply of raffle tickets and donations came in from all over the country.
Julie Cummings, 53, manager of the Smuggler's, said it was so busy that it reminded her of the days before the financial crisis when pubs were busy at the weekends.
"We worked for a living that night," she added.
People made donations before picking up the mic for karaoke, the raffle took almost an hour as so many prizes had been donated and there was a pool tournament to raise even more money.
Liam added: "It was a pretty wild night and we couldn't believe how busy it got.
"You know the atmosphere's buzzing when you've got a 50-year-old man singing Dizzee Rascal's Bonkers on the karaoke – we couldn't get my dad off all night!"
The group had set a fairly ambitious target of £1,000 at first, but when all the money was in, they raised a total of £4,620 – and there may be more to come in if other funding they have applied for comes through.
Emma said: "It was really packed. So many people helped us make it a success."
The couple moved from their home in Poplar Grove, Cleethorpes, to RAF Marham on Thursday, although this may not be the last local charity gig they organise.
Liam said: "We really want to do another party here at The Smuggler's next year and I'm thinking of doing the Three Peaks Challenge, so maybe I can roll money from the night and sponsorship into one and top the amount we raised this year."
Lisa Courtney, fundraiser for St Andrew's Hospice, said: "This is an amazing achievement and it was a real community effort – we can't thank these guys enough."
For more information on St Andrew's Hospice, including how to donate, visit www.standrewshospice.com