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Updated: Oct 8

What began as a colossus challenge, ended with a poignant and touching moment for Age Concern's and Bishop's Stortford's history, as the centre was saved from closure by managing to raise not only £75,000, but an amazing £145,000!

With perseverance and hope, the town, volunteers, staff and the lovelies fought back with whatever resources they had to save their beloved second home.

Everybody did their part.

Annabelle led the brigade with staff Mandy, Hilary, Natasha, William and his side kick, long term volunteer, Ollie, into the community to raise donations and awareness. The team at the local Bishop's Stortford Independent, stepped up to make the call to the community to rescue a treasured resource. The volunteers, pushed past their initial distress to swiftly band together with ideas and enthusiasm, and their reach for help went far beyond our community, but also went national!

Age Concern made the box when they were visited by the BBC curtesy of our volunteers, who would not take no for an answer, persistently emailing and calling the BBC till they committed to covering our plight. Fortunately, when the camera crews arrived, the story was no longer a call to help, but one of triumph and joy.

By the end of the first week, of its two week deadline, the centre had achieved what was the unthinkable, £37,000! Reenergised by this vital fuel, the Age Concern family were driven on to do what many thought was the unthinkable. Throughout the week, we watched the money rise as people donated online or come in to the centre in person, giving whatever money they can spare. Many said almost apologetically, "this is all I have" not realising that what they were giving was to be part of an amazing £17,500! To everyone who donated, large or small, everything you gave was crucial and was to make a huge difference!

Thanks to an anonymous doner, what was a pledge for half the money, turned into the full amount of £75,000. Trustee Richard, was able to gain support from two charitable trusts, who collectively contributed £51,000. These were the Michael Game Charity and the Spear Charitable Trust. As a result, the centre more than surpassed the £75,000 and still continues to grow thanks to our Bishop's Stortford community.

This blog is to say thank you, for each and everyone who has supported us throughout the years as well as through this dramatic chapter, whether this was through donations, time, and encouragement. We also want to thank the volunteers and staff who were once again true hero's to the lovelies and their loved ones.

In no particular order, Dee, Ruth, Debbie, Jude, Ana, Louise, Pete, Simon, Ollie, Will, Mandy, Hilary, Natasha, Weena, Mike, Sian, Carol, Carole, Gill, Brenda, Karin, Ashley, Sarah, Richard, Toni and of course their often unsung families and partners who supported them throughout. Thank you.

To the town of Bishop's Stortford, thank you too from the Age Concern family. In return, we will commit to cherish every pound you have entrusted in us, and ensure that it not only gets us through this year, but well beyond our half century which is due up in two years time. As well as constructing a self-sustainable model, we also promise to give back to the wider community, by producing more services that respond to Bishop's Stortford's wants and needs.

So watch this space, we have some exciting times ahead at Age Concern, The New Apton Centre and it is all thanks to you.

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