High five – Army set to march once more

David Wilson, from The Stephen Carey Fund, and Gazette editor Paul Larkin launch the 2014 campaign.
David Wilson, from The Stephen Carey Fund, and Gazette editor Paul Larkin launch the 2014 campaign.

The search is on for a new beneficiary for our Jam Jar Army campaign as it looks to march on into 2015 – the fifth campaign since its launch in 2011.

From today, the Gazette is looking for nominations from across north Northumberland for a local good cause to be the next beneficiary of the community’s fund-raising efforts.

The Jam Jar Army appeal was first launched in May 2011 after author Judith O’Reilly came to us with the idea, and the target of raising £10,000 for HospiceCare North Northumberland was set.

By the end of the year, the appeal, which at its simplest sees homes, shops and other businesses collecting small change in jam jars, had raised more than £13,000 for the charity.

In 2012, Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre was named as the beneficiary after winning a public vote and more than £12,000 was collected.

Our readers then selected dog charity SHAK to receive Jam Jar Army funds in 2013 and the £10,000 target was smashed before Christmas, eventually collecting more than £15,000.

Last year, The Stephen Carey Fund, named after the 21-year-old from Alnmouth who collapsed and died while playing football due to an undiagnosed heart defect, won the reader vote to become the fourth beneficiary.

During the past year, the Fund, which installs defibrillators as well as providing life-saving training, has become an official charity.

Its reign as Jam Jar Army charity continues until the end of February, but so far around £9,000 has been raised, taking the overall Jam Jar Army total raised since 2011 to nearly £50,000.

Now it’s the chance for groups in the area to put themselves forward for 2015 as we look for a charity, community group or other good cause which is based in, or serves, north Northumberland.

Anyone wanting to nominate a beneficiary should contact the Gazette and describe, in no more than 200 words, what the charity is about and for what the £10,000 target amount would be used.

Email ben.oconnell@jpress.co.uk or apply by post to Jam Jar Army 2015, Northumberland Gazette, Bondgate Without, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1PN.

The closing date for nominations is 5pm on Monday, February 9, and the shortlist will be published in the Gazette on Friday, February 12, when voting will start.

There will be another chance to get a voting form in the Gazette on Friday, February 19, before the closing date for votes at 5pm on Tuesday, February 24. The winner will be announced on Thursday, February 26.

l Jam jars or money for The Stephen Carey Fund can be returned to the Gazette office on Bondgate Without (our door is locked, but we are still here during working hours, just ring the bell) or the Lions bookshop on Bondgate Within.