“I loved watching my emails for when the messages popped up, telling me someone had donated. It was so exciting. I felt I was making an impact, no matter how small.”
When Ella Eastwood had a Year 8 school project to do some voluntary work or raise money for a chosen charity, the 13-year-old decided to combine both.
A young dinghy sailor passionate about the environment and wildlife around her West Sussex home, Ella committed to doing a sponsored shore clean up in Bosham.
Those email messages eventually totalled an incredible £1,080 in donations and Ella couldn’t have been happier about the difference her efforts will make.
Ella said: “By someone sponsoring me to clean up rubbish on the shore, I was helping my local community and wildlife and also those on a larger scale.
“When deciding which charity to raise money for, my mother told me about the Trust. I thought it was the best fit for what I was concerned about and what I believed in most. I really love sailing and I wanted to give children like me the chance to experience what I get to experience as they need this much more than I do.”
Bag it up!
Ella spent a day with her family clearing around the shores and picking up any litter that was washed up by the sea or had been left behind by others.
She admits, as much as she loved the long walks, the biggest challenge came in finding the willpower to walk and collect so much rubbish. An active sailor and tennis player, Ella carried out the clean up in half-term, giving her cousins the chance help out too.
Ella focused her fundraising online using Virgin Money Giving. This meant she could send out a link and share her story easily, while she says this method was also very good for reminding people and re-iterating her points.
Her message to anyone thinking about fundraising is not to worry about how much you raise, as long as you’re doing it for a good cause and having fun, “That’s all that matters,” she says. Ella also got something unexpected out of the experience too.
She added: “I love the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust top and I wear it all the time! It helps promote the charity on a casual basis.”
You could shore-ly do the same?
Britain is an island nation with over 11,000 miles of coastline!
If you live near the sea in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland could you be like Ella and support young people in recovery from cancer while looking after nature?