Sunderland charity champion signs off in style

Retiring charity fundraiser Kathy Bowmaker, centre, with members of Castletown Methodist Church Tea Dance.
Retiring charity fundraiser Kathy Bowmaker, centre, with members of Castletown Methodist Church Tea Dance.
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A weekly table top sale has lead to a Sunderland woman raising £23,000 for charities.

Six years ago Kathy Bowmaker held her first table top sale at Castletown Methodist Church’s afternoon tea dance and raised £8.

Retiring charity fundraiser Kathy Bowmaker.

Retiring charity fundraiser Kathy Bowmaker.

Now, after numerous sales at the weekly gathering and raising some £23,000 later, Kathy has decided to call it a day.

The 71-year-old widow said she has loved running the event, but it has become like a full-time job and a bit much for her.

Kathy, who lives in Downhill, said: “Everyone has been brilliant, but it does take hours of work to organise and price everything. I have really loved doing it, but I am going on holiday soon and just thought it was time to stop.”

The former quality supervisor at a clothing firm said the whole thing started when she was asked to raise money for the church’s Home Mission group.

I have really loved doing it

Kathy Bowmaker

She said: “I decided to hold a sale and we raised £8, I was over the moon with it.”

Kathy’s sales just kept getting bigger and better as time went on and she is amazed by the amount she has raised through the tea dance sale.

She said: “People have donated loads of fantastic stuff and it is thanks to everyone at the tea dance who have continued to support it.”

After an initial £200 was raised for the Home Mission, the funds started being distributed to numerous charities. The RNLI, Help for Heroes, Dogs Trust, Mind and Macmillan Cancer, are just a few which have benefitted over the years.

Kathy Bowmaker.

Kathy Bowmaker.

Each week what was left over from the table top sale was donated to the Great North Air Ambulance and toys to charities which support disadvantaged children.

Kathy said: “They were all gutted when I told them I would be retiring.”

Anne Young, one of the members of the tea dance, said: “Kathy has done a brilliant job and £23,000 is a huge amount. We will all miss the sale because we have bought some beautiful things at really good prices.”