Stood by the school gates every Friday, grandmother Rosemary was after only one thing: everyone’s stuff.

The ‘stuff’ was anything unwanted that could raise money at a boot sale. And that boot sale cash was destined for a very good cause.

Rosemary had very sadly lost her daughter to colon cancer in 2006. Taking care of her three grandchildren who’d been left without their mum was her first priority. And also high on her agenda was to do something that could make a difference. She set her goal high: to raise enough money to buy a colon cancer detecting machine for the Broomfield Hospital. £30,000 was the price tag.

It was at the school gate that I first met Rosemary. We got talking about her collecting stuff and the reason behind it. I offered to help.

People were so generous and we did loads of car boot sales. This was just the start. The £30,000 goal sometimes seemed so far off. So we got our thinking caps on. And jam instantly came to mind.

On the Market

Rosemary had a talent for creating homemade delights. Jam, marmalade, bread and cakes were what she did best. So she got to work, and we set up a makeshift market stall here in the office at Robert Gerrard and everyone spent generously. Then we had the idea to take Rosemary’s delights to a bigger marketplace: the Loughton Farmers’ Market. We were up at the crack of dawn and our cake stall sold out in hours. It was amazing fun and we raised loads towards the £30,000 target.

Teeing Off

We were lucky enough to get support from Nazeing Golf Club. They charitably allowed us to stage a fundraising golf tournament where all the proceeds went towards the cause. This alone raised an amazing £10,000.

Sold to the Highest Bidder

Rallying round local businesses, we gathered a host of very special auction lots and organised a spectacular party night with a live singer and disco, and the centrepiece: a charity auction. West Ham tickets, signed football shirts, hair styling sessions and private dining were just some of the lots that raised us some £6,000.

Target Reached!

The fundraising campaign started in 2007 and in 2008, after lots of hard but enjoyable work, the £30,000 needed to buy the machine for the Broomfield Hospital was achieved. The Scope Positioning System – official name the Surescope 3Di – was created in conjunction with inventor Professor Duncan Bell. The technology behind it is very advanced and it can make an incredible difference when it comes to early detection of colon cancer.

Rosemary, Les and consultant

Rosemary and Les, with the consultant

You can read more about our fundraising and community involvement on our community page.