An Exeter volunteer and her team of knitters, sewers and card-makers have raised £75,000 for Samaritans over 30 years - and are now on the look-out for new blood.
Ann Pearce-Mariner, who lives at Haven Banks in Exeter, has co-ordinated eight volunteer card-makers, five knitters, a crochet expert and random sewing devotees to make a range of soft toys, greetings cards and blankets.
In the 1980s and 1990s Ann and her team sold their crafts at the old Exeter market for several days a week. Now they attend monthly events at Silverton, Stoke Canon and Newton St Cyres, as well as ad hoc craft fairs, fetes and coffee mornings.
“Some years we’ve raised £5,000 and some £2,000 and in total it’s around £75,000. We’ve had buyers from America and Australia, and people come every month to buy cards and gifts for people with birthdays coming up” says Ann.
She started fund-raising in the 1980s when her late husband Roy was director of Exeter Samaritans. “I’ve kept going ever since. It’s the most wonderful organisation doing selfless work 24 hours a day” she says.
Ann has no intention of hanging up her knitting needles yet, but she is on the look out for new volunteers to help create toys, cards and her latest product line - home made candles.
“It would also be fantastic to have more help at our monthly sales events. They’re usually on Saturday mornings so someone who could drive and sell would be a huge assistance to a really worthwhile cause” she says.
Anyone interested should contact Ann on 01392 496649.
Samaritans provides support to people distressed or in despair which may lead to thoughts of suicide. People can talk to us at any time on 01392 411711 in their own way and in confidence, about whatever is going on in their life. They can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our centre at 10 Richmond Road, Exeter, EX4 4JA.
Note to Editors: For more details, contact Helen, Samaritans’ Exeter and East Devon director on 07977 050983.