I’m Mandy . . . sponsor me
Serial fundraiser Mandy Hearle on why she does it
IF you’re driving along the highways and byways of Suffolk this autumn look out for an unusual example of pedal power. It could be a bike, a go-kart or even a strange mythical creature. Whatever the contraption – and, potentially, the weirder and more wonderful the better – it will be piloted by serial fundraiser Mandy Hearle.
Mandy, who raises money for the international charity Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) has thrown down a ‘Pedalmajig’ challenge to under 14-year-olds all over Suffolk. Young people have been invited to submit their own design for a pedal-powered vehicle capable of carrying at least two people around the county. Over the summer, Mandy and other volunteers have been building a pedalling machine based on the winning design before setting off on a fund raising tour around Suffolk.
“The idea is that the expedition pedals off in September shortly before the old pound coin is withdrawn from circulation,” she says. “We’re working out a route that will take in as many schools and supporters as possible – and we’ll be fundraising for MSF the whole way.” Before her vehicle got anywhere near the start line she was hoping to raise up to £25,000 in sponsorship from local businesses and other supporters.
The Pedalmajig is just the latest in a long list of whacky, imagination-catching ideas Mandy has had to raise funds for her chosen charity. Mission Possible, Ping (a pound) and Books without Borders have all helped her raise over £20,000 which she hopes will help purchase an MSF inflatable hospital – literally a flat-packed medical facility, which could be airlifted into a trouble spot or disaster zone at very short notice. Think Aleppo or the Haiti earthquake and you get a flavour of where the target market is.
“In Haiti,” she says, “it was possible for MSF to get one of these hospitals up and running very quickly. They operate using local people and they can stay in place until normal infrastructure has been restored.” Comprising nine individual pods, the hospitals offer a fast and flexible solution to the need for pop up medical facilities.
Mandy Hearle’s fundraising marathon, which began at the start of 2014, has been in memory of Poppy Harvey, who was training to become an MSF medic when she tragically died of a nut allergy.
‘We’re working out a route that will take in as many schools and supporters as possible – and we’ll be fundraising for MSF the whole way’
“It was Steve Jobs who said ‘Make something happen’ and this is what I wanted to do for Poppy,” she says.
Poppy’s favourite colour was pink and it’s a pink Mandy you may have seen if you shop or live in the Woodbridge area. Mission Possible ran for the whole of 2014 and involved Mandy accepting a new sponsored challenge every day of the year. Pink hair, pink carnival queen, pink car and even a pink house all helped to boost the Mission Possible fundraising coffers. By the end of 2014 Mandy had raised over £15,000 and also launched ‘Ping a Pound’, making it easy for anyone in Suffolk and the rest of the UK to ping a round pound for her cause, by texting PING65£1 to 70070. Extending the pound theme she also launched #LASTROUNDPOUNDFOR POVERTY which invited people to donate their last round pound before the coins were withdrawn from circulation and replaced by the new 12-sided version.
“I’ve always loved the idea that lots of people can give a tiny amount rather than relying on a few people to give a lot,” she said at the time. “The Ping campaign has generated a fantastic response and we’re expecting Last Round Pound to do the same.”
To find out more about Mandy Hearle’s Ping campaign and some of her recent fund raising escapades visit Ping65.com.
Above, Mandy Hearle launches her Last Round Pound campaign. Below left, Tapping Without Borders, and the Pedalmajig design winner Emily Sharman (right) and third placed Charlotte Franklin. Facing page, Mandy leaps in for the Spirit of Woodbridge calendar.