Fundraising couple from Wisbech shortlisted for national charity award

Wisbech fundraisers Ben and Sarah shortlisted for national award. PHOTO: Submitted.

Wisbech fundraisers Ben and Sarah shortlisted for national award. PHOTO: Submitted. - Credit: Archant

A couple from Wisbech that has raised almost £10,000 for the Macular Society has been shortlisted for a national charity award.

Ben and Sarah Dodkin received a joint nomination in the chairman’s award for fundraising category at this year’s Macular Society Awards for Excellence.

The couple, both 33-years-old, have raised almost £10,000 for the charity - which provides support to anyone affected by central vision loss – since 2016 when their son, Finley, was diagnosed with a juvenile dystrophy.

Since then, they have been involved in a range of fundraising activities for the charity, with friends and family joining in to boost their total.

Sarah arranged raffles and an auction night, while her parents completed the Peddars Way 50-mile walk.

Ben took part in the Great North Run, while his aunt organised a race night and an Easter Sunday bike ride.

Ben said: “We started fundraising with a raffle at my workplace in December 2016.

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“Alongside all of the activities, we’ve had several donations from families’ workplaces too.”

The couple will find out soon whether they have been chosen as winners.

If successful, they will be presented with an award at the Macular Society’s national annual conference, which takes place at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London, on September 22.

The chairman’s award for fundraising is one of five honours handed out by the charity as part of the awards.

There are also prizes for clinical service of the year, optician/optometrist of the year, rising star of the year, and a chairman’s award for volunteering.

Sarah said: “The best thing about fundraising has been being able to raise the awareness of juvenile dystrophy in particular as lots of people think macular disease is a condition that only affects older people.

“We’ve never been nominated for anything like this before and feel very honoured.”

Ben added: “We couldn’t have raised the amount of awareness or money we have without the support of those around us.

“We’ve quite often found ourselves overwhelmed by friends’ and strangers’ generosity.

“It’s been such a humbling experience and we’re so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful friends, family, colleagues and the wider local community.”

Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the Macular Society, said: “Ben and Sarah’s fundraising efforts really have been inspirational.

“They truly deserve this nomination and I’d like to add my personal thanks to both of them for all of their efforts to raise funds for us.”