When we had our first assembly at school about the Borneo 2020 expedition, my first initial feeling was excitement! I have never had the opportunity to do something like this, and coming from a big family, my siblings haven’t either. It took some guts to make a final decision. I was slightly nervous and it took a few weeks to decide if I really wanted to invest the time into doing this. However I have had so much support from my parents and all my family and friends towards the trip and fundraising, the nerves have all gone away and I’m more excited than ever!

My first major event was a sponsored Pianothon (piano marathon) where I sat at my own home piano from 9am to 5pm playing continuously either solo, or with my sister playing duets, or playing our pianola which takes piano rolls. I had one 10 minute break for lunch when my mum played the piano. At the same time we had both a cake sale and a book sale. My mum made 300 vegetarian sausage rolls which are always extremely popular! I advertised the pianothon in my local village farm shop where I work on Saturdays, also in our village newsletter, and to my family and friends over social media. We arranged the dining room with tables full of cakes, the conservatory with books and the piano room with chairs seated around to listen to me play.51733882_10156412902209545_761691065303433216_n

We have 4 pianos in our house as I come from a musical family and my dad is a piano tuner, so this event to raise money for my expedition in 2020 was right up my street. Initially, it was a suggestion of my mum’s, as she has done a Pianothon before in a music shop in Essex to raise money for a local hospice – so she knew how to set things up. We have been living in this village for almost 17 years and the support we had from our neighbours was amazing – there was never a minute where people weren’t here listening to the music.

My aim was to raise £500 – which at first seemed very ambitious. However as the hours and the music went along, the house filled up more and more with villagers, family, friends, work colleagues …… ! I felt confident that with the generosity of the village and beyond, we were going to reach this target.hebe-pianothon

As the Pianothon came to an end, cakes and books were sold aplenty, and I was pretty exhausted. With the help of my mum and my sister, we counted all the earnings up, and to the surprise of everyone, we raised almost £1,500! I was overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who came – and also from those who donated on my JustGiving page because they couldn’t come. This event has really taught me that fundraising can be fun if you put in the time and effort.52396247_1469579926506617_4373271464703426560_n

Overall, I am extremely grateful to all the people who came and helped out, and I’m excited for my future of fundraising and going to Borneo!

My fundraising started in September 2018, early on to get a head start, putting half of what I earned from working at the village farm shop and extra Christmas jobs into a tin, opening it every month. I also opened a crowdfunding Just Giving page, which I advertised over social media. With the combination of this and my very successful sponsored Pianothon event, I have already raised well over half of the money I need! I have also written to my village’s Community Council as they give away £100 to a young person every year for a project. I have also gone giftless for Christmas and will do the same for my birthday in May and next Christmas. I am really excited for the expedition and am now confident that I will raise the money much earlier than I thought. As my mum constantly says, preparation is the key to success!!!!

I am next planning a garden party with a big raffle for which I will write to local businesses etc for prizes. I have already been offered prizes by Adnams, a local brewery. It is going to be a Borneo-themed party with Indonesian food etc. I will invite the village, my family, friends and beyond! I will be doing this in the summer and I’m excited to put this event together.

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