Sign up to the Jam Jar Army

Clockwise from bottom Max Clark, James Ariston, Andrew Calvert, Antonia Angus and Cerys Williams.
Clockwise from bottom Max Clark, James Ariston, Andrew Calvert, Antonia Angus and Cerys Williams.

THE Jam Jar Army is on the march and we’re looking for new recruits to fall in and join the ranks.

The Gazette is today launching a new campaign, with the aim of raising £10,000 for HospiceCare North Northumberland by September.

The beauty of the Jam Jar Army is that anyone can take part. All you have to do is fill an empty jar with loose change. It’s that simple.

Austerity measures may be biting but there are always a few pennies left in the bottom of purses, wallets, handbags and pockets.

If everyone collects theirs in a jam jar then we can reach the target and make a real difference to the work of HospiceCare which helps patients with life-limiting conditions and their families.

The Jam Jar Army is the brainchild of best-selling authorJudith O’Reilly, whose latest book, due to be published in 2013, is about doing good.

As part of this, Judith wanted to raise money for charity and, inspired by her family’s poor box for collecting coppers when she was growing up, she came up with the Jam Jar Army.

She wants as many people as possible to have a jar in their home.

Judith, author of Wife in the North, said: “The Jam Jar Army means people can give what they can afford at a time of their own choosing. It’s the sort of money you don’t miss, the coppers and silver that hangs around in trouser pockets or in the bottom of handbags – it’s never enough to buy anything, it just weighs you down and clutters up your life.

“But if each of us fills a jar with that spare change, together we can make a real difference. I am delighted the Northumberland Gazette is launching its Jam Jar Army and making it easier for all of us to give.”

When the jars are full, you can drop them off at the Northumberland Gazette office in Bondgate Without or the Lions bookshop in Bondgate Within, Alnwick.

We want businesses, organisations, families and individuals to all have their own collections.

If you are collecting, ask 10 other people to start a collection so we can build a formidable force across the county, before the Jam Jar Army heads out across the country.

Churches, schools and HospiceCare North Northumberland supporters are all answering the call to join up, so let’s band together and hit the target of £10,000.

Seahouses Middle School has already joined the campaign.

Gazette editor Paul Larkin said: “I think this is an excellent way to raise money for a charity that is really close to the hearts of people in north Northumberland.

“Anyone can join in and many of us will already be collecting loose change for a rainy day. Why not do a good deed and give it to charity?

“We all have jars or pots in the house that we can use to throw in our small coins.

“If a lot of people raise a little each, it will add up to a big amount which will be vital for the work at the hospice.

“People in Northumberland have a reputation for being generous so I would like to see everyone with a jam jar in their house to show that charity really does begin at home. Join the Jam Jar Army and let’s hit that ambitious target of £10,000!”

Alnwick Lions Club is also backing the campaign.

Its fund-raising chairman Tom Deedigan said: “Alnwick Lions Club is delighted to be part of the Jam Jar Army appeal.

“We think it’s a great idea, the club did something similar many years ago but nothing on this scale. It is a very simple idea and yet easy to do, so lots of people of all ages will get involved – the more the merrier.

“Alnwick Lions will be encouraging as many people as possible to get involved, We would like to see the Jam Jar Army ‘invading’ shops, offices, pubs and even schools – let us make every penny count.”

Peter Slee, chairman of the HospiceCare North Northumberland trustees, said: “The Jam Jar Army is a marvellous way to get lots of local people involved in doing their bit for charity, and we at HospiceCare North Northumberland are delighted that Judith O’Reilly has chosen us to be the first good cause to benefit.

“Whatever is raised will be a tremendous boost to our truly local hospice services.

“Anyone who wants to start collecting right away can call in to Castleside House, 40 Narrowgate, Alnwick, where we will have a supply of empty jam jars!”

We would like to have collection points around north Northumberland as well so that jam jars bursting with coins can be dropped off all over the region. If any organisations can help, please get in touch.

The Jam Jar Army’s website is up and running at and you can register your support on Facebook as well so make sure you spread the word.