A BIG-hearted mum who climbed Ben Nevis in a bid to raise money for charity was celebrating today after she raised thousands of pounds for 52 charities in 52 week.
Marie Hayden’s year-long fundraising drive was so successful she smashed her £2,000 target and is now turning the fund into a registered charity.
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The 35-year-old salon owner took on the challenge as a New Year’s resolution in 2014.
She vowed to raise cash and hold events in aid of 52 charities both nationally and local to her home in Cannock, Staffs.
And over the course of the year, Marie has raised a combined total of £25,000 by holding dozens of raffles, ladies’ nights and an astonishing five bungee jumps.
She also raised hundreds walking up Ben Nevis, sold poppies on behalf of the Royal British Legion for Remembrance Day and even completed a 52 mile sponsored walk.
After raising cash for her 52nd charity just before Christmas, she said she was now planning her next New Year challenge.
The mum-of-two said: “It’s been an amazing year. I wanted to make a New Year’s Resolution which I could stick to and also help out charities.
“I thought about the idea of trying to raise money for a different charity every week for the year and it just took off.
“At the start of it I never imagined I would do anything that big in the course of the challenge.
“But somewhere in the middle it all got a bit out of control. Somehow I ended up doing bungee jumps from a crane, climbing Ben Nevis and walking 52 miles.
“It’s incredible to have raised so much money.
“People have been so supportive, but the best part really is how it has brought people close together.
“The 52 mile walk for example, 12 of us did it. But many more people came to help out. The whole community helped us.
“We were given Mars Bars to keep us going, water to help and the local church let us stay overnight while we walked.
“The only problem was that went so well that I think I got a bit cocky the week after when I had to climb Ben Nevis.
“That didn’t go quite so well to be honest. I forgot that it’s a completely different skill. You don’t walk up a mountain, you climb it.
“I struggled up and on the way down I couldn’t bend my knees or walk properly. To be honest I didn’t quite make it to the top so we’re going back in March to finish the job.
“I want to thank everyone who helped us along the way, everyone has been so generous and so good to me.
“Now I am going to turn the fund into a real charity, the Olive Circle Fund. We want to help the little charities raise money, or help people to raise funds.
“We can help people arrange events and do anything from helping an individual raise money for treatment or raise money for a charity.”
Marie added that she will be taking a rest from events for a few weeks in the new year but hopes to be up and running with her brand new charity in a few weeks time.
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