A seven-year-old boy who raised more than £2,000 for the emergency services that rescued him, a committed fundraiser who died whilst running the London Marathon and a 10-year-old girl who helped raise thousands to feed children around the world after blogging about the quality of her school dinners are just three of the inspirational characters nominated in this year's JustGiving Awards.
Now in their third year, the Justgiving Awards reward individuals, teams and charities who have helped raise nearly £200 million through the JustGiving pages over the past 12 months, a huge figure that demonstrates how raising money for good causes is an activity that is very much thriving in the UK.
Claire Squires' JustGiving page raised nearly £1 million after she died while running the London Marathon
Split into 11 categories and with more than 800 entries, the judges are expected to face some tough decisions before the winners are announced at a celebratory evening in London on 14 April. The evening also promises some glamour as the Celebrity Fundraiser of the Year will also be revealed as voted for by Huffington Post UK readers.
The celebrity shortlist include three well-known fundraisers: Tom Hardy, who drove across Siberia to rasie funds for Cambridge homeless charity, Flack; Scroobius Pip, who trekked Mount Snowdon (with his beard) to raise funds for the Institute of Cancer Research; and Richard Herring, who has raised £170,000 for Scope by fundraising during his comedy tours.
Of course, the vast majority of fundraising comes from individuals and teams who don't attract the media spotlight and it is these people to whom JustGiving will be devoting nine of its 10 awards on 11 April. The categories and a full list of shortlisted nominees are listed on the Justgiving website but here is a flavour of the outstanding efforts that just a few of them have made:
Nominated for Young Fundraiser of the Year, Freddy Parkins was just seven when a serious road accident left him with a broken leg and his dad with critical injuries. After being rescued by The East Anglian Air Ambulance service, Freddy went on to raise £2,300 for the charity by writing a book about his experience.
Martha Payne's school meals campaign has attracted worldwide attention. Here she meets the president of Malawi, Joyce Banda
Claire Squires had already been a regular fundraiser before she decided to run the London Marathon for the Samaritans. Tragically, she collapsed just yards from the finish line and later died in hospital. Her justGiving page soon attracted donations in her memory from all over the world, raising nearly £1m. Claire is shortlisted for the Most Popular Fundraiser.
Another candidate for Young fundraiser of the Year is Martha Payne, who in 2012 began blogging about the quality of her school dinners, winning many supporters but also the displeasure of her local council who demanded she shut the page down. Not to be put off, Martha asked her readers to donate to Mary’s Meals, a charity that runs school-feeding programmes across the world, raising £100,000. Her Never Seconds blog continues today.
Paul Parrish has raised more than £20,000 for Grove House hospice in Hertfordshire, which supports patients, families and friends living with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. His efforts appear even more impressive as he used to be a chain smoker. After tackling his first half marathon in 2005, Paul is now one of only four people to attempt a triple ironman contest - involving a 7.2-mile swim, 336-mile cycle, and a triple marathon run of 78 miles - all taking 52 hours.Unsurprisingly, Paul is in the Endurance Fundraiser of the year category.
The complete award categories are:
- Most Popular Fundraiser
- Young Fundraiser of the Year
- Most Creative Fundraiser
- Endurance Fundraiser of the Year
- JustTextGiving by Vodafine Mobile Fundraiser of the Year
- Charity of the Year
- Outstanding Commitment to Fundraising
- Celebrity Fundraiser of the Year
- Special Recognition
- Company of the Year
- Best use of Technology