This year will be the second time that I will be running a Coffee Morning Event to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and a second charity that I am passionate about, The Severn Hospice, less than two miles from my store. Last year with the great support of my family, suppliers and customers we raised £800. I was able to donate £400 to each of these valuable charities who do great work for people in my community. This year I set myself the goal of doubling these donations. This led me to think about the people who are important to me.

Obviously, my family are the centre of my life and with around 20 years of working in my shop, the people in my part of Telford are a big part of my life. I’m also already getting great support from my suppliers to help make my fundraising events a success. My challenge this year is bringing together the other important groups of people in my life: my colleagues in the convenience channel – other independent retailers.

On August Bank Holiday Monday, I held an event at my home and invited friends and acquaintances from the trade along. I invited nine and all were delighted to be asked. They asked can we bring some friends along too. To raise money for the two charities, I charged £20 for each person and provided a three-course meal and drinks. We also had Bingo for entertainment and a couple of raffles.

This was a family affair so I didn’t ask for any support from our trade supply partners. My son, Ricky donated the food and my husband, Joe, the drink. My mum and aunt took charge of the cooking, all done in my kitchen. My sister’s business donated a selection of household products from their janitor’s cupboard and with donations from the retailers who came to the event I was able to create prizes for the Bingo and raffle.

I have built up a team of helpers among my customer who come in and assist with the charity events I hold in store and of course, they were invited as well. As always, they gave assistance where needed.

The party started at 2pm and the last of our guests left at around 11pm and I was keen to ensure that everyone left feeling that they had a wonderful time and value for their £20. My family and I filled ‘goodie bags’ to give to everyone as they left to go home.

People are incredibly generous, and we raised £1400 from the event. A well-known Wolverhampton retired retailer, Fred Pezhman, summed the party up for me:

“I came along expecting a cup of tea & a piece of cake a was amazed at what had been organised and the number of people who came to the party.”

The other retailer guests were Dalwinder and Amy from Cannock, Mr and Mrs Vadulkal from premier Overdale Telford, Pam and Paul Sohota from Spar in Newport, Mr Boparie from Premier Down Mead Telford, Serge and Sukhi from Premier Wolverhampton, and Mr and Mrs Bains from Local Telford. Jean Brown and Mrs Smart are local residents and have been for over 20 years – they were overwhelmed to be invited and loved the fact they were waited on and won the Bingo.

I like to continue to challenge myself. I’m taking part in the Birmingham Half Marathon on 15th October to continue my fundraising for the two charities. If you wanted to donate, I’m always happy to get support in my endeavours.