Unwanted items exchanged to help fund brain tumour research

PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:22 19 February 2020

Ellie's Fund neighbourhood collector Elizabeth Oram. Picture: Catherine Causley

Ellie's Fund neighbourhood collector Elizabeth Oram. Picture: Catherine Causley

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Almost a year has passed since Ellie’s Fund collections were first introduced in Exmouth.

Michael Peek, of MJP Homes, who built a new Ellie's Fund collection point at Brixington Academy. Picture: Catherine CausleyMichael Peek, of MJP Homes, who built a new Ellie's Fund collection point at Brixington Academy. Picture: Catherine Causley

Almost a year has passed since Ellie's Fund collections were first introduced in Exmouth.

Throughout that time, big-hearted members of the community have shown fervent support for this charitable trust, run by the Brain Tumour Research and Support (BTRS) charity.

The scheme, Ellie's Fund, started when the founder's daughter Ellie Othick-Bowmaker was diagnosed with a brain tumour at 11 years old. Despite being seriously ill, Ellie selflessly dedicated herself to fundraising and helping others. Prior to losing her battle at 14 years old, she had raised over £25,000 for great causes. Her mum Heather has carried on her legacy with Ellie's Fund, which is now run by BTRS.

One of the big money-making initiatives for Ellie's Fund involves an unwanted-item bag collection in the Exmouth area. The bags are exchanged for a payment from specialist recycling companies, which is then donated to the Yorkshire based charity that funds research into brain tumours - a surprisingly low-financed area of medical research.

In just under twelve months, over half a tonne of materials have been collected, sorted and packed in Exmouth, and sent off to the specialist recyclers.

Remarking on the positive response to the collections, Catherine Causley, Exmouth co-ordinator of Ellie's Fund, said: "I can't believe how popular this has been. I thought perhaps one or two businesses would step forward to be collectors, but the response has been overwhelming. Several local businesses, charities and schools have all been actively involved".

She added: "Recently, neighbourhood collectors have been helping out by gathering items from friends, family and neighbours. Plus, three volunteers pick up the filled bags from the drop-off points".

The majority of donations are dropped off at the new collection point near Brixington Primary Academy, where the Exeter-based, landscape gardener, Michael Peek of MjP Homes and Gardens, built a bespoke structure to house the new charity bins.

To tackle the high level of contamination found in some boxes, which has been as high as 50% at times, all collection points now only accept pre-sorted waste items. All contaminated objects have to be extracted by hand and in the past have included dirty nappies and rotten food.

For further information, take a look at the Exmouth Community Facebook page.

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