CARING Jessica Ridge has spent years giving charities a helping hand.
Now the 12-year-old’s family is celebrating because she has raised nearly £21,000 for worthy causes.
As previously reported, Jessica has held garden fetes, sponsored walks, bingo nights, auctions, fashion shows and even a rodeo for Cancer Research UK, the Make a Wish Foundation, Parkinsons UK and Naomi House Hospice – in just four years.
In May around £15,000 had been raised for the charities.
Once money from fundraising events held during the summer and a bingo night in aid of the hospice at The Hampshire Rose pub, Widley, on December 9 has been collected Jessica will hit the £21,000 mark. But Jessica doesn’t plan to call time on her selfless actions just yet – she’s planning another year of fundraising for another charity. She will soon meet representatives from Camille’s Appeal, a children’s brain tumour charity, about the possibility of supporting them.
Jessica said: ‘When we did the first fete for cancer it was really fun and it brought everyone together.
‘I liked seeing how it helped people, so I didn’t want to stop doing it. I picked the new charity because we know a little boy with a brain tumour and I wanted to see if we could help him.
‘Someone from the charity is going to come around and talk to us so I can see where the money will go and then we’ll decide what we’re going to do next from there.’
Her proud mum Lara Ridge said: ‘Every year we say to Jessica “are you sure you want to carry on doing this?” because there’s a lot of work involved.
‘But she is so determined to continue helping people.
‘As a mum there is no way I can stop her making such a difference to the lives of people less fortunate than her.
‘To think by the end of the year it will be £21,000 is absolutely incredible.’
It all began in 2009 when, aged eight, the Purbrook Park School pupil was moved by stories of the late reality television star Jade Goody’s cancer battle.
She asked Lara if she could hold a barbecue in the garden of their home for Cancer Research UK – and enlisted the help of neighbour, TV presenter Fred Dinenage.
After raising £2,500 she carried on and hundreds of people have since been involved with her charity A Touch of Magic.
It’s an umbrella charity which uses the numbers of other charities when holding events so money raised can go directly to them.