An elderly volunteer responsible for overseeing bucket collections for a children’s hospice has helped raise £400,000 for the charity.
Pensioner Don Foster of Wanstead first got involved with Haven House Children’s Hospice in Woodford Green in 2001, two years before the official opening of the hospice based in the High Road.
The 74-year-old volunteer and his wife Catherine, 77, visited the grounds of the hospice based at The White House, in High Road, and was instantly impressed by their cause.
“We visited the grounds of the White House and I had recently retired. I thought it was a worthwhile cause and I wanted to contribute,” says Mr Foster.
Thirteen years later and the former rent officer has reached a fundraising landmark of £400,000.
Mr Foster began by holding a bucket collection at Ilford’s town centre Exchange building, but soon thought the hospice should target commuters at our busy train stations.
He initiated a project in 2001 to organise collection points at London Underground stations and was the first volunteer to collect at stations.
As a part-time volunteer, Mr Foster started his collections with a team of other volunteers at Wanstead, South Woodford and Woodford stations on the Central line.
The bucket collections now take place across of various stations across all lines on the Underground.
“It takes a team of people collecting money to raise this amount of funds, but also the public are extremely generous.
“Finding out that the bucket collections have raised over £400,000 is absolutely fantastic.”
“The work we do is hugely emotive and people identify with children being unhealthy and the respite care that families need,” added Mr Foster.
The hospice’s chief executive Mike Palferman has praised Mr Foster’s commitment and fundraising efforts.
He said: “Don is one of our longest standing volunteers and what he has achieved for the hospice and for our children and families is phenomenal.
“£400,000 is an amazing amount of money and is proof of the difference someone can make to improve the life of the local community.
“A big thank you also to all the volunteers who have helped Don with his collections over the years.”