“The hospices are amazing places and it’s our pleasure to do what we can to raise funds and help where we can” – Merle and her family are linchpins of EACH’s Diss Friends Group and have helped raise more than £386,000

Different generations of the same family are revving into action to raise funds for charity at a popular motorcycle event.

Merle Channell, 84, son Mark and daughter-in-law Mary, daughter Claire (Murton) and her daughter, Anna (Halls), are tireless supporters of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) and linchpins of its Diss Friends Group.

As a family, one of their regular ways to help is by lending a hand at the Copdock Classic Motorcycle Club (CCMC) show, which raises funds for charities including EACH.

Although Merle herself is no longer able to attend, Mary and Co. man the cloak room – setting up tables in a lorry container – by checking in helmets, leathers and other biking gear, in exchange for a donation.

They are responsible for between 600 and 800 items during the day and all money raised is collected by Copdock Classic Motor Cycle Club, which splits the overall total from the show to worthy causes across East Anglia.

Over the years, the CCMC has donated in the region of £55,000 to EACH.

This year’s show is being held at Trinity Park, in Ipswich, on 1st September.

“It’s very busy but an enjoyable day and something we’ve had great fun doing for many years,” said Mary, who lives in Diss.

“It all came about thanks to one of my fellow members, David Beale (formerly Friends Group chairman and still on the committee), who had the original contact with Copdock Classic Motorcycle Club.

“We’ve got our system down to a tee now and, although we’re shattered by the end, it’s great fun speaking to people as they check their belongings in.

“We have lots of banter and they’re always grateful to have somewhere safe to keep things.

“They’re also very happy to make a donation when they see our buckets and find out who we’re raising funds for.

“EACH does such an invaluable job.

“Obviously, parents hope it’s not a service they ever have to use but, if they do, they couldn’t be in better hands.

“The hospices are amazing places and it’s our pleasure to do what we can to raise funds and help where we can.

“The money we raise all adds up and hopefully makes a difference.”

Mary, chairperson of the Friends Group, has been volunteering on behalf of EACH at Copdock for 25 years.

She started by selling tickets and, along with other members of her family, has been running the cloak room for the last 15.

As Diss Friends Group members, the family and others have organised various events down the years, including strawberry teas and fashion shows.

Their involvement stretches back to 1997 – during which time they have raised an eye-watering £386,331.

However, the group has not been able to host anything since before the pandemic.

“It’s been a big part of our lives,” said Mary, who has enjoyed tours of Quidenham (EACH’s former Norfolk hospice), The Nook, in Framingham Earl, and The Treehouse, in Ipswich.

“It all came about by chance, nearly 30 years ago, as I used to work for NatWest.

“A member of the group came in to open an account and that prompted me to get involved.

“I fancied doing some charity work but had that person gone to a different bank, or had I not been the one to serve them, I might never have developed such a strong affiliation with EACH.

“We’ve had a lot of fun down the years.

“We used to have a strong committee but while there are still a few who help with collections, it’s more on an individual basis rather than hosting anything together.

“That’s why extra help is always appreciated. It’s great fun and very rewarding.”

EACH Community Fundraiser Anne Austin would love to hear from anyone interesting in volunteering and/or raising funds and awareness in the Diss area.

She said: “Our Friends Group members are incredible ambassadors and amazing volunteers.

“By working together, they achieve so much and their contribution is invaluable, donating their time to support the charity.

“Anyone interested in finding out more, joining a local friends group or even running a group can email Anne.Austin@each.org.uk or Megan.Kemp@each.org.uk. We’d love to hear from anyone interested in getting involved.”

Find our notes to editors here.

Keep in touch:

For further information about this release please contact:

Matt Plummer | Media and PR Manager | 07738 328058 | Matt.Plummer@each.org.uk

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