Thursday, 21 October 2021

Woman raises £10,000 for charities from barrow sales

A WOMAN has raised more than £10,000 for animal charities by selling items from a barrow.

A WOMAN has raised more than £10,000 for animal charities by selling items from a barrow.

Sarah Ball gave up her career as a research chemist to dedicate her life to fund-raising.

The mother-of-two sells a range of items, including books, toys, plants, eggs, CDs and DVDs, from the green barrow outside her home in Victoria Road, Wargrave.

The beneficiaries include the Diana Brimblecombe Rescue Centre in Hurst, where she volunteers once a week, Compassion in World Farming and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Mrs Ball said: “I grew up surrounded by animals. My mum looked after stray cats that were starving or along the railway line, where we lived in Goring.

“She took in all sorts of injured wildlife and we used to rear baby birds, anything from blue tits to seagulls.

“Mum was in a similar situation to me in that she had stopped working to have children.

“She had always looked after animals then she became involved with fund-raising and was the secretary of the Goring and Streatley branch of the RSPCA.” The green barrow was made by Mrs Ball’s father Tony Baigent as a gift for her mother Jean.

“She used it to sell plants to raise money for animal charities,” said Mrs Ball. “They both died within a month of each other 10 years ago so I thought I would carry on putting it to good use.

“I do not put it out every day — it normally goes out when it is sunny and on days when I am not too busy as it takes a while to set up.

“I used to sell just plants and for the first five years or so made around £200 a year but since then I have raised about £700 a year from donations of other items.

“If I have any excess I take it to the rescue centre for their jumble sale, so nothing gets wasted.”

Mrs Ball and her husband Lincoln, a fire officer, have two children Elena, 11, and Sammy, eight, who are keen helpers and often donate their toys to the barrow.

Elena also ran a second-hand stall at the Wargrave Baby and Toddler Group and helped at the rescue centre fun day last summer. Mrs Ball said: “Elena loves animals and I think when she is older she will be going through the streets of London with banners. She definitely takes after me.”

Elena, who attends Piggott Junior School, said: “The charity barrow isn’t very attractive on its own but baby toys, books and much more brighten it up a lot.”

Mrs Ball said she enjoyed running the charity barrow more than her old job.

“I would rather do this as I did not like the animals being used for experiments,” she said.

“Although I did not have any dealings with that personally it was still within the environment that I was in.

“I really enjoy doing this as it is a hobby as much as anything else and it is good for recycling because a lot of things would just get thrown in the dustbin otherwise.

“This is not just about fund-raising, it is about promoting animal rescue centres and the idea of people adopting an animal from one of those rather than just going to the nearest pet shop.”

The family have acquired a number of animals from the Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue Centre.

Mrs Ball said: “We have had two dogs from there, one was very old and one had withered leg muscles. We ended up with them because nobody else wanted them.

“We have also had five rabbits and six guinea pigs from there. The centre is local and does such good work, so it is nice to support it.” She plans to continue fund-raising. “I have never had any negative comments about the barrow,” said Mrs Ball.

“We are in a good location and there are a lot of people walking by as the shops are just up the road. I enjoy it very much and people are very generous. We have a whole shed full of things. People just leave things outside the door for me and a lot of my friends give me toys that their children have grown out of.”

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