Girl’s amazing mission sees her raise £45,000 – at the age of just 14

Fred Dinenage and Jess Ridge opening the Jamboree in 2009
Fred Dinenage and Jess Ridge opening the Jamboree in 2009
Black Star Riders: from left, Scott Gorham, Chad Szeliga, Ricky Warwick,  Robbie Crane and Damon Johnson.  Picture by Richard Stow

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SHE’S raised almost £45,000 for charities over the past six years.

And, incredibly, she’s still only 14.

Jess Ridge is now setting her sights on raising £5,000 for Hannah’s Holiday Home, which was set up in memory of Horndean’s Hannah Westbrook who had Hodgkin’s disease and died aged 10 in 2004.

Jess’ incredible passion to help others started in the summer of 2009 when relatives and friends held a charity Jamboree in her family’s garden in Hambledon.

The event was opened by local celebrity Fred Dinenage and raised £2,500 for cancer research.

Since then Jess has juggled schoolwork with setting up her own charitable organisation, called A Touch of Magic.

Each year she chooses a different charity, raising many thousands for Parkinson’s, the Make a Wish Foundation, Naomi House Children’s Hospice, Southampton Hospital’s Piam Brown ward, and the Tree of Hope children’s charity.

Jess, who attends Purbrook Park School, said: ‘I was inspired to raise some money to help people who had cancer, following the media coverage of Jade Goody, and watching a TV programme where Oprah Winfrey was explaining how money was needed for various causes.

‘It makes me feel wonderful to be able to achieve such a large amount of money to make other people’s lives better, and it makes me want to raise more!’

Jess is a member of Showstoppers Stage School in Blendworth, Horndean.

The school is putting on a show at Petersfield’s Festival Hall and proceeds from a charity raffle will be going to Hannah’s Holiday Home.

The cause gives families with seriously-ill children a holiday.

Jess said: ‘I like charities that benefit families and children, and I had heard of Hannah’s Holiday Home so I looked it up on the internet and read all about it. We are hoping to raise enough to buy three play houses and fill them with toys.’

Caroline Casey, principal at Showstoppers, said: ‘Jess is such a giving person and is Showstoppers’ head girl promoting the ethos of the school which is; happiness, teamwork and friendship from within its students.’

The shows takes place on Saturday, February 14 at 2pm and 7pm and Sunday, February 15 at 2pm. Tickets cost £12.50 and are still available for Saturday from Caroline Casey on 07730 524212 or e-mail carolinecasey@hotmail.co.uk