The life Of a lockdown fundraiser

Linda Atkins is one of our most intrepid fundraisers having raised almost £7,000 for heart babies, like her granddaughter Ruby. Her previous efforts include supermarket collections, organising a range of events and taking on challenges. The coronavirus pandemic may have interrupted her plans, but it has in no way stopped her! Here she talks about how she has adapted her fundraising plans and will keep fighting for tiny hearts:

I started fundraising for Tiny Tickers five years ago after losing one of my twin granddaughters to Congenital Heart Disease (CHD). It was intended to be an occasional pastime but, as these things often do, it has turned into a passion.

When Tiny Tickers announced their 20th birthday last November I, with hindsight and probably foolishly, said I would organise 20 fundraisers, culminating in a 21st birthday party in November 2021.

Supermarket collecting for Tiny Tickers

I started small with the £10 contents of my change jar and went on to organise sales of Christmas cards and advent candles, a raffle, tombola, bucket collections, auction of two airport taxi transfers donated by a friend and donations in lieu of gifts for my birthday.

By the beginning of March, I had completed ten events and raised £917. I was on a roll and things could only get better.

Famous last words.

What I hadn’t banked on, was Covid 19.

But this determined Yorkshire lass wasn’t going to let a pesky virus stop her in her tracks! I was just going to have to re-think my strategy.

An evening with author Milly Johnson, 2019

The first event to fall by the wayside was a military band concert I had booked for early May. This was a big disappointment, as it was guaranteed to make a good profit. What could I do to replace it?

When Tiny Tickers announced details of the 2.6 Challenge I decided to give it a go. I had a hip replacement the week before lockdown, so I challenged myself to walk 2.6 miles without walking aids, eight weeks after surgery.

After some unseasonably good weather, I chose the coldest, wettest day to walk around the local rugby pitch, but I managed it and raised £402.

Then my step daughter called me to say she had been making face masks for her family, word had spread and other people were asking for them and wanting to pay. We set up a Just Giving page with a target of £100 and gave up changing the target after £500. The total eventually peaked at £1053.

Music and poetry evening with Ian McMillan and Luke Carver Goss in 2017

Other events to bite the dust are my regular bric-a-brac, tombola or book stalls outside the local church and I can’t see the Ladies Lunch in August being viable. However, I have several ongoing projects to keep me busy. I am making Christmas and birthday cards in the hope that the November stall at a local shopping centre will go ahead. Plus, having gone as far as I can with our own family trees, I have researched family trees for two friends in exchange for donations, with more in the pipeline.

My Just Giving Random Acts of Kindness page is slowly accumulating funds from the likes of my grandson, who has been selling things he no longer wants and a friend who told me to keep the cost of concert tickets.

There are jam jars with Tiny Tickers stickers for collecting loose change scattered amongst friends, which I will collect in November. They may not yield much, but, more than ever now, my motto is “Every Little Helps”.

Linda with granddaughters Francesca and Ruby. Ruby tragically passed away from CHD in 2015.

As always, I couldn’t do what I do without the help and generosity of family, friends and strangers. I live in hope that the next few months will bring further easing of restrictions and in November, we will be singing Happy Birthday Tiny Tickers surrounded by friends, but if not, there is always a virtual tea party to fall back on!

Has Linda inspired you to raise money for tiny hearts? Take a look at all the ways you could fundraise here or email for a chat about how you can help.