The Diamond Divas ladies’ choir, which has raised over £40,000 for the Macmillan Unit in Christchurch, came up with various fundraising ideas during lockdown – including making colourful masks.
The 20-strong choir, based in Highcliffe, has for the last eight years been performing in aid of Macmillan Caring Locally (MCL), the charity which supports the palliative care unit.
Concerts traditionally take place in care homes, local churches and at WI groups, as well as outside supermarkets over Christmas.
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 epidemic has forced the Divas to cancel all their live performances.
However, Josie Spicer, the choir’s coordinator said the ladies have simply ‘diversified’.
She said, “It has been terribly frustrating not to be able to perform and very upsetting to cancel our concerts. We are a fun and very sociable choir which thrives on interaction and the joy we spread through our singing.
“But we are also adaptable and very determined, so we simply looked for ways to fundraise for MCL in a non-musical way.”
Two choir members set up socially distanced stalls at their front gates selling plants, books, puzzles, DVDs and handmade crafts.
Three more ladies made jams and pickles, which they sold to family, friends and neighbours.
Various members made cash donations and others bought fabric and thread for Josie to use to make cotton washable reusable masks.
Josie said, “The reusable masks have proven a huge success. I started by making a few for family and friends. Then demand just took off.
“My employer, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, kindly offered to display the masks for sale in its Christchurch shop.
“Several smaller local shops also offered to sell them and customers have been very encouraging and generous, many contributing way above the recommended minimum donation of £3 per mask.
“It has been hard to keep up with the demand. Every day I have been cutting out and sewing masks until I dream of them in my sleep.”
Funds from selling masks have now topped £2,000, bringing the total raised by the Divas since March to over £3,000.
Josie said, “We intend to be back singing and raising money in the way we do best as soon as possible. But in the meantime we hope people will continue to support us and MCL by ordering masks, including Christmas ones, which they can do on the MCL website at: www.macmillanlocal.org
Neal Williams, trust secretary of Macmillan Caring Locally, said, “During the last eight years the Diamond Divas have spread so much joy through their singing and also to our patients through their huge generosity.”
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