03:00PM, Saturday 14 November 2020
The popular Cracker Challenge cannot take place this year.
The Advertiser is gearing up for a slightly different Cracker Appeal this year – but it is still committed to supporting more than 2,000 disadvantaged people in the borough.
The ’Tiser’s Cracker Appeal aims to help 36 charities and organisations from Maidenhead and the surrounding areas that will be supporting the elderly and vulnerable this Christmas.
Last year, the Cracker Appeal raised £7,800. As well as funding Christmas parties, the money raised allows charities to go on day trips and hold various events throughout the year.
In keeping with tradition, free turkeys are also being provided by Copas Traditional Turkeys, which has been offering support to the Cracker Appeal for the past 20 years.
In previous years, it has given away 36 turkeys to 17 different charities.
“This year might be different, without sit-down meals – there might be more charities wanting legs rather than whole turkeys,” said Simon Windsor of Copas turkey farm.
“The charities will come down on the 23rd to collect the turkeys at our Christmas fair and collection day, which is going to be a drive-through this year. We’ll still have reindeer and will be playing Marlow FM.”
Although Christmas events will be slightly different, many charities are carefully planning how to make use of the donations they receive to support their members.
Housing Solutions, for example, is planning to deliver small gifts to 250 residents, alongside a cup of tea, to make up for having to cancel its coffee mornings.
Others are planning to postpone their meal until early next year.
Due to COVID-19, the Advertiser’s own usual fundraising efforts for the Cracker Appeal have been completely different.
It has been unable to host its summer fundraising event, or winter Cracker Challenge – a series of sporty competitions between local businesses, with the winner being awarded the Cracker trophy.
Last year at the Magnet Leisure Centre, businesses from around Maidenhead faced off in volleyball, dodgeball, an inflatable obstacle course and a ‘Gladiator’ challenge.
“We haven’t been able to complete any of our fundraising events, but we have reached out to previous donors,” said Jeremy Spooner, CEO of Baylis Media, the Advertiser’s publisher.
“We’re determined to help give vulnerable people the best Christmas they can under trying circumstances.”
The Advertiser is receiving a donation of £5,000 from the Louis Baylis Trust to support the campaign.
The giving ceremony will also not be able to take place in the traditional style – whereby representatives of the benefitting charities meet with members of Baylis Media over mince pies.
Instead, the plan is for charities to pick up their turkeys direct from Copas and receive cheques in the post from Baylis Media.
“We hope our fundraising will be back to normal next year,” said Jeremy. “If anyone would like to support the appeal, please get it touch.”
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