Applause for enterprising young fundraiser

Maddie Burgess who raised £750 for East Kent Hospitals Charity outside her house with a cheque

Published on 10 June 2020

Neighbours of a schoolgirl came out of their houses to applaud when she handed over a cheque for almost £750 to East Kent Hospitals Charity.

Maddison Burgess, 11, from Hythe, decided to fundraise to support staff working on COVID-19 wards at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. 

And even when cruel thieves stole some of the money people had donated, she was not deterred and went on to devise a safer way for people to support her that would reduce the risk of theft as well as minimise any potential infection risk.

Jojo, Maddison’s mum, said: “She began by selling cress and sunflower seedlings and raised £8 in a few days. 

“She then decided to start a ‘coin run’ challenge on our driveway, writing NHS in huge letters and asking passing residents to place any spare coins in the letters.

“Sadly, on the first day of this challenge, £4 was stolen. 

“Maddison was heartbroken, but not deterred, and we gave her our support to continue.”

This time, Maddison asked donors to draw a circle on the letter to represent their donation, and to post coins through the front door. She provided hand sanitisers and wipes, as well as envelopes, to reduce any infection risk. 

By day 7, Maddison had raised £350, and kind neighbours offered to match this amount, bringing the total to £700. Further donations were then added, taking it to £745.80.

Jojo added: “We are extremely proud of Maddison’s achievement during such difficult times. 

“We would like to thank everyone who donated and give special thanks to Mr and Mrs Griggs for their generosity in match funding Maddison’s fundraising.

“We would also like to thank Kellie Barker at Born Anxious clothing for providing Maddison’s t shirt.” 

Dee Neligan, fundraising and development officer for East Kent Hospitals Charity, paid a socially distanced visit to the family to collect the cheque – to the sound of applause from the neighbours.

She said: “We were delighted to be able to visit Maddison and so touched by all of her efforts to fundraise for our NHS Heroes. 

“Due to her commitment and energy in raising these funds, we will be able to fund staff emotional wellbeing initiatives during COVID19. We are really grateful.”