I’m Mandy . . . spon­sor me

Serial fundraiser Mandy Hearle on why she does it

EADT Suffolk - - Inside -

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.

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