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Celebrating our Outstanding Fundraisers

Published on August 22, 2018

This summer, we’ve been visiting our fundraising groups and Community Ambassadors and presenting them with awards to recognise and reward their amazing fundraising and volunteering for Animal Free Research UK.

Rev Feargus O'Connor with his outstanding fundraising award

Rev Feargus O’Connor with his outstanding fundraising award

London-based Reverend Feargus O’Connor has been raising funds for animal free medical research since 1996. Feargus is the Minister of the Unitarians in Golders Green and he is a member of the Animal Interfaith Alliance who also support our work. Feargus often donates his Minister’s fee from weddings and funerals and regularly holds collections with his congregation for us. In 2016 he set up the Universal Kinship Fund which has raised an incredible £48,000 for animal free medical research.

On a very hot sunny day in Islington, we met with long standing members from our London Group who have been raising funds for us since 2010. The London Group hold stalls in and around London raising funds with collection tins, tombolas, bric-a-brac sales and raising awareness by talking to members of the public about our work.

Ellie Hale and Pat Maxwell from the London Group with their outstanding fundraising award

Ellie Hale and Pat Maxwell from the London Group

Next stop was Birmingham where we met Community Ambassador, Jane McKears, and her group who have been fundraising tirelessly with ‘A Year of Hurst’ to celebrate the memory of their beloved friend, Wendy Hurst. The group have put on fabulous fundraising events including a quiz, a gig and a skittles night all in Wendy’s memory and have raised over £4,000 for animal free medical research.  Jane is still continuing to raise funds for us and is now very busy working hard on producing the ‘Raving Pink Panto’ in November.

Birmingham fundraising group with outstanding fundraising award

A Year of Hurst fundraising group, Birmingham Community Ambassador Jane McKears pictured with award

Birmingham Community Ambasador, Jane Mckears said:

‘I volunteer for Animal Free Research UK as it’s an excellent charity and I think that animal experiments are absolutely abhorrent. I started volunteering when our friend Wendy Hurst died last year. She was a big supporter of Animal Free Research UK so I thought I want to support this excellent charity to do something that I really believe in and to do something that I know Wendy would be really proud of.

If you’re thinking about volunteering try not to do it on your own, get all your mates together, find people who have energy, who share your beliefs in protecting animals, and decide on what events you could put on to raise money. Think about what you would enjoy doing, putting on successful events can be hard work so you want to enjoy every minute of it so make sure it’s fun.’

Bude fundraising group at the beach

Bude Group, Community Ambassador Steph Jones-Giles pictured centre front row

Finally, the last visit involved a 14 hour return trip from our head office in Hitchin to Bude. The Bude group work so hard to raise funds and awareness about animal free medical research in the local Bude community. Steph Jones-Giles, Community Ambassador for Bude, started the group in 2015 and they now organise a range of events from social nights, stalls at local events, supermarket collections and have the added bonus of receiving great support from local businesses such as Sizzlers, Crooklets Cafe and Morwenna Cafe. This year they even had a float at the Bude carnival dedicated to Animal Free Research UK.

Bude Community Ambassador, Steph Jones-Giles said:

‘The Bude support group are such a dynamic and passionate group of people who really care about this issue. In the first two years of forming we raised over £17,000 for research into heart disease, brain tumours and leukemia. This year we are raising funds specifically for breast cancer research. The charity is positive and solution focused and quietly ‘gets on’ with funding innovative, non animal research. We will see an end to the use of animals in laboratories and each and every one of the Bude community who support us when they see us, help bring that day closer.’

Bude Group on the float at Bude Carnival

Bude Group on the float at Bude Carnival

Carla Owen CEO of Animal Free Research UK said:

‘I would like to thank all of our fundraisers and volunteers for their hard work and effort that they put into creating successful fundraising events so we can continue to save animals from being used in medical research.  We receive no government funding and rely on the generosity of our supporters and fundraisers to be able to fund medical research that will change the course of history and enable us to live in a world where no animal is experimented on.

Presenting outstanding fundraising awards is a way for us to show our volunteers just how much we appreciate and recognise their support in helping us along this journey. Thank you to each and every one of you, whether you are a volunteer, fundraiser or local business. Your support of Animal Free Research UK is invaluable and we cannot thank you enough.’

Outstanding Fundraising Award

Outstanding Fundraising Award

If you live nearby and would like to join an inspiring group of people fundraising and raising awareness to help save animals from being used in medical research you can join the London, Bude and Birmingham Groups on Facebook.  Or you can instead email, where someone will put you in touch with the groups. If there is not a group near you and you would like to start one in your area or learn more about what’s involved, please see our Community Ambassador volunteer role for more information.

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