Charitable giving that begins at home

arthritis researchThe Old Rectory residential nursing home has long been at the forefront of local fundraising activities for Arthritis Research UK (ARUK).
As we all know, arthritis can have devastating effects on the lives of the elderly. Having experienced first-hand just how debilitating this slow degenerative disease can be, Geoghegan Group co-founder Joanne Geoghegan has been a committed supporter of ARUK’s work towards finding a solution to the condition for over 30 years, raising over £100,000 to date through an ongoing programme of fundraising initiatives.

Established in 1936 as the Empire Rheumatism Council, ARUK aims to support those living with arthritis to live full and active lives free from limitation by investing in research for treatments, interventions and cures. By undertaking genome screens, funding clinical trials, and lobbying key governmental decision makers, ARUK hopes that, by 2020, arthritis sufferers will feel independent, in control, and have ‘a voice’: sentiments that all at the Geoghegan Group echo wholeheartedly.

From little acorns

As participants in the CowParade Surrey public art event, the sponsorship and subsequent purchase of our own ‘Convalescing Cow’ sculpture ─ now ‘grazing’ at The Clavadel in Guildford ─ has raised valuable additional funds for ARUK. However, fundraising efforts began in earnest back in 1989 with the first of what was to become an annual charitable summer luncheon at The Old Rectory.

Set against the idyllic backdrop of our beautiful gardens ─ maintained by Master Gardener Paul Gooding ─ this popular community event has grown in stature from modest beginnings with wooden tables and chairs on the lawn, to become a regular focal point of village life. Everyone ‘pitches in’ and enjoys contributing to the day’s festivities ─ from kitchen assistants who prepare the food to our domestic staff who help serve it. Meanwhile, Paul and our handyman Dave Richards get to work putting up the marquee needed to facilitate the growing visitor numbers year on year.

A wide variety of stalls offering honey, jams, books, and clothes from Shere’s Mad Jak complement the party atmosphere and add value to the modest luncheon ticket price, the profits of which go directly to ARUK. Joanne co-ordinates the flower arrangements for every table, and a now legendary hazlenut meringue roulade is a much anticipated highlight.

A Christmas Fair also takes place at both The Old Rectory and The Old Hall in Send. These are always well attended and further contribute to the fundraising pot. Events such as these and our summer luncheon bring residents, staff, and the local community together with a common purpose that continues to bring value to everyone involved, whilst raising the profile of a worthy, and often overlooked, cause.