Fringe Box



Fundraising Arm of Disability Challengers Celebrates Second Birthday

Published on: 3 Dec, 2012
Updated on: 3 Dec, 2012

Distinguished broadcaster Micheal Buerk regaled members of the Disability Challengers Champions Business Club when they celebrated their second birthday with a gala dinner at Fetcham Park, Leatherhead.

The club, an innovative fundraising arm of Guildford-based Disability Challengers, which provides exciting and challenging play and leisure opportunities for disabled children and young people, has grown to 23 members this year and contributed £43,000 through memberships fees, business workshops and events.

Events taking place over the next few weeks include a breakfast seminar on Thursday, December 6, at Loseley Park, starting at 7.30am. On December 22 and 24, members will be holding a street collection in Farnham, and bag packing at the town’s Sainsbury’s store in South Street.

At the gala dinner, Mr Buerk, a patron of the charity, gave a talk about his life at the BBC, stretching back some 40 years. Turning to the charity he said: “The wonderful thing about Challengers is how loved and valued it makes everyone feel. It’s a great cause and we should be proud to be involved in it.”

Other speakers included Alison Mould, a parent trustee, who spoke movingly about how the charity has helped her son Charlie, 22, who is severely autistic. She said: “I feel so passionately about Challengers because as a family we could not have survived without their help.

“Charlie’s behaviour can have a massive impact, causing grief and depression. At best it can be stressful, at worst, dangerous; his behaviour is that of a four-year-old in the body of a 22-year-old.

“Challengers see the person behind the autism and they love and respect him. The charity is the only chance he has to access outings.

“I’d drive to the moon to bring him to the adult youth club in Stoughton. A huge thank you to these wonderful people.”

New chairman, local businessman, David Clinton told the club members and their guests: “I’m desperately keen to keep growing the Champions Business Club as it is so important to Challengers.”

The gala dinner is the highlight of the Champion’s year, which also runs workshops by experts for members and five employees from their businesses.

Past speakers include former racing driver and local businessman Damon Hill and Surrey MP and Health Minister Jeremy Hunt.

Media millionaire Chris Ingram and the International Director of fashion portal,, Jon Kamaluddin are already lined up to talk in 2013.

Actress Jenny Seagrove (Judge John Deed, A Woman of Substance) has recently become a patron. She said: “Challengers is a very, very special place and I can see its importance in families’ lives.”  She is hoping to forge links between her local horse charity, Mane Chance, and Challengers.

For more details about Disability Challengers and its business club, click here.

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