Oxfam fundraiser Barbara Walmsley returns with sponsored 'sleep in'

Emma Billingham


A passionate supporter of Oxfam will be hoping to bring her fundraising total to £300,000 for the charity in her 31st year of collecting.

Barbara Walmsley, from Cookham, has spent years supporting Oxfam and the work it does across the world.

The 79-year-old suffered from meningitis earlier in the year and so will be scaling back her usual front line campaign that would have seen her at Sainsbury’s in Providence Place, Maidenhead, for a weekend collecting donations.

Until recent years, she would undertake a sponsored fast each autumn, but medical issues have prevented her from doing this.

Now Barbara plans to do a sponsored ‘sleep in’, not leaving her bed from Friday, October 14 to Sunday, October 16. Her friends will take her place in the supermarket in shifts over the weekend with the Boxfam lady, a lifesize figure made of cardboard boxes.

Over the years, £289,000 has been donated to Oxfam through her efforts, and for 2016 has set the bar high a £300,000.

The grandmother, who lives in High Road, said: “I do all this because of guilt, I think. We are so rich in so many ways. I’m a mother and a grandmother but I couldn’t bear to imagine being with a child in Syria.

“Oxfam do such fantastic work, I know what I raise is such a drop in the ocean within the grand scheme of things, but the money can go very far in these poorer countries.”

Barbara, who used to be a primary school teacher, raised £18,200 last year from sponsorship and donations.

She added: “I would be very pleased to reach £300,000.”

A coffee morning takes place on Thursday, October 5 at the Holy Trinity Parish Centre, Cookham, from 10.30am, with guest speaker Shelley Hitch, an antiques valuer for Oxfam.

Call 01628 522471 for tickets and go to www.justgiving.com/Barbara-Walmsley1 to donate.

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