Jam Jar Army campaign hits a major milestone

Stephen Carey Fund treasurer Bryan Shendon presents the defibrillator cake to Northumberland Gazette staff Janet Hall, Micheal Pearson, Paul Larkin, Ben O'Connell and James Willoughby.
Stephen Carey Fund treasurer Bryan Shendon presents the defibrillator cake to Northumberland Gazette staff Janet Hall, Micheal Pearson, Paul Larkin, Ben O'Connell and James Willoughby.

While there is good news for the new Jam Jar Army beneficiary, a major milestone has been hit for the current campaign as it draws to an end.

There are still more coins to count, but once again the Jam Jar Army has reached the £10,000 mark, with the total raised so far for The Stephen Carey Fund at £10,300 and counting.

This means that in the four years since we first marched to raise funds in north Northumberland, more than £50,000 has been raised for local good causes.

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 that 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.

It eventually collected 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 has seen it raise more than £10,000, taking the overall total to more than £50,000 raised since 2011.

Gazette editor Paul Larkin said: “It’s fantastic news that once again the £10,000 mark has been hit as The Stephen Carey Fund provides such a valuable service for communities across north Northumberland and beyond.

“The fact that it takes the overall Jam Jar Army total to more than £50,000 in just four years is even more incredible and it’s testament to the generosity of our readers and the sense of community that is alive and well in north Northumberland.”