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Supporters beat pandemic to raise thousands for charity

07 Dec 2020

A determined bunch of York fundraisers has defied the coronavirus pandemic to raise thousands of pounds for a city charity.

The Dunnington Cancer Support Group for York Against Cancer usually raises around £16,000 a year through its second-hand shop in the village Reading Rooms building and through events such as coffee mornings and fashion shows.

But the group, a former finalist in The Press’s Community Pride Awards, had only got around three months into this year’s efforts when the first lockdown was announced in March.

Anne Abbiss, chairman of the group, said its members had held a fashion show only days before lockdown, but after restrictions were imposed they couldn’t open their shop because it was too small and because all but three of their volunteers were over 70 and needed to self-isolate.

The resourceful fundraisers could not be held back, though. The group started to hold book stalls outside the shop, which Anne said proved extremely popular.

“During lockdown people were desperate for books to read,” she said. “We were selling them for 50p a time and usually made about £100 with each sale. People sometimes gave us extra, of course – their generosity has been exceptional.”

Anne also staged a coin hunt to generate more funds and after bringing all the funds together she has just handed over a cheque for £7,000 to York Against Cancer’s General Manager Julie Russell.

“I’m very proud of what the group has been able to achieve,” said Anne. She said they had also used lockdown to make improvements to the shop to allow more people to visit it in a covid-secure manner.

Improved electrics, lighting and flooring were now in the pipeline, and the volunteers had made preparations for a coffee morning or fair to take place the moment that it could practically be held.

“And on Saturday December 12 we are holding a big thank-you event,” she added. “We’re holding a half-price shop sale from 9.30am to give something back and let people have the chance to get themselves some bargains. We’ll only be able to let a limited number of people into the shop at any one time, so please come wrapped up well!”

Julie said: “We’ve always known what an asset to our charity the Dunnington Cancer Support Group is, but being able to raise this much money in such challenging circumstances is extraordinary. They’re such a great bunch of people and I’d like to thank them all for everything they do.”