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National provider of legal and professional services, Ashfords LLP, has successfully raised a sum of over £78,000 for Parkinson's UK, the firm's Charity of the Year 2016. Parkinson's UK is a charity that drives better care, treatments and quality of life for those affected by Parkinson's.
Ashfords initially set themselves a fundraising target of £75,000 to raise money for the charity's confidential helpline, a vital resource that provides a lifeline to people living with Parkinson's as well as those who support them. As the firm not only met that target, but continued to raise funds beyond it, a significant proportion of the funds have been privately match-funded, almost doubling the fundraising total to a whopping £150,165.
Ashfords' fundraising throughout the year was led by Partner, Mark Manning.
Mark Manning commented: "We are incredibly proud of all of our staff for not only beating our original fundraising target, but also enabling us to have our final fundraising total match-funded by private donors doubling the amount of money raised for the charity. Parkinson's UK is a condition which affects so many lives and we are incredibly grateful that our fundraising will help make a real difference to those affected with Parkinson's."
Throughout 2016, Ashfords held a number of different exciting events and initiatives in order to raise both money and awareness for the charity, including book sales, raffles, cake sales and even its own social media campaign (#peelbackthemask).
In addition, 13 teams of eager quizzers took part in 'Come Quiz With Me' - a remote quiz whilst being treated to a three course meal (or pizza) by a group of generous hosts. The firm’s Bristol office organised a comedy night which featured Rob Deering and Nick Page, and was compered by Nick Davies. The firm's Plymouth office took on an epic cycle challenge, cycling the distance from Land's End to John O'Groats on a bike located in the office, and the firm’s London office organised a 'Battle of the Bands' event which saw the firms' band, The Outlaws, go head-to-head with the bands from the Post Office and Powerchord, subject to the judicial scrutiny of celebrity Jane Asher, the current president of Parkinson's UK.
Ashfords' budding Trainee Solicitors took on their own challenge, “The Ashfords Trainee Challenge”, organising engaging fundraising events such as pumpkin carving, a winter swim, and selling real mini desktop Christmas trees with personalised baubles and Hanukkah coins.
Other external fundraising events included a Burgh Island Swim where brave participants swam around Burgh Island; the 'Property Ball' at Dart's Farm in Exeter; and 'A Night at the Museum', a black tie charity ball at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum which included a silent auction, casino and 10 piece soul band.
Garry Mackay, CEO of Ashfords, took on his own challenge, voted for by staff, to be plunged into the London Royal Docks on a cold and dark night in November to swim across the River Thames for the charity.
Ashfords’ CEO, Garry Mackay, commented: “We are delighted to have worked with Parkinson’s UK as our charity of the year for 2016. Our staff, together with the support from Parkinson’s UK, has seen us raise a record £78,679 (most of which is then being match funded). Whether it was the Battle of the Bands, cake sales or people paying to make me swim in the dark freezing cold waters of the Thames, the level of support and engagement has been unbelievable. Parkinson’s UK is such an important and worthwhile cause and is something that I know is very personal to a number of people. We hope that the money that we have raised goes someway to helping those manage this disease and eradicating it going forward."
Paul Jackson-Clark, Director of Fundraising at Parkinson's UK said: "It’s been a fantastic year working with Ashfords, with everyone getting stuck in to do their bit. From fundraising to awareness raising, Ashfords have made a huge impact on the Parkinson’s community and their support means that we’re able to continue running our confidential helpline. We look forward to working with Ashfords in the future, continuing their legacy of support. ".