It was “hi-ho hi-ho” all the way as a number of our team members in Ottery St Mary dressed as festive elves and cycled, jogged and walked to work at Otter in memory of Ottery colleague Rob Gillingham, who passed away from a brain tumour earlier this year.
The elves were fundraising for Brain Tumour Support, a charity that helps those affected by any type of brain tumour, not just patients, but also their families, friends and carers.
We were delighted that a total of 43 team members dressed up and took part in the event that took place on Friday 3rd December. They were given a surprise to find the big man, Santa waiting at the garden centre to meet them, along with mince pies and hot drinks to warm up and thank them for their efforts. Many of the team also carried on with their elf antics throughout the day, remaining in costume to the delight of customers visiting the garden centre.
Otter Garden Centres Managing Director Jacqui Taylor took part by wearing an elf outfit and cycling into work through Ottery St Mary. She got behind the fundraiser on behalf of the business by pledging a £50 donation for each of the team members who took part, adding £2,150 to the pot. Jacqui said:
“Rob was a valued, popular member of our team, and well known as the driver of our grotto’s ‘Santa Express’ train each year; it’s an honour to fundraise in his memory.
“Although our grotto isn’t open this year due to the pandemic, seeing so many elves at the garden centre really gave everyone a boost of festive cheer!”
Volunteer fundraiser from Brain Tumour Support, Jeanette Hackwell who organised a collection on the day added: “It was such a successful day and a lasting tribute to Rob.
“The funds raised will go a long way to keeping the charity active, especially after the impact of Covid-19.”
Jeanette and her team, all of whom have or have had brain tumours, collected £250 generous garden centre customers, swelling the total further. Another brain tumour survivor Helen Patterson (pictured right with her bike), the inspiration behind the fundraiser, cycled 30 miles to the garden centre in her elf outfit, raising over £500
which she split between Brain Tumour Support and Alzheimer’s Society.
Together with the amount raised by the festive Otter elves and the collection on the day, the total raised so far for Brain Tumour Support is well over £3,500.
There is still time to make a donation by visiting the JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/otter-garden-centres