Redbridge Leukaemia charity closes for good after 38 years

A Redbridge charity which has raised more than �2million has closed its doors for good after failing to find new members willing to take over key roles.

The final audited accounts of the Redbridge branch of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research was sent to members last month, signalling the final act in the group’s 38-year history.

Branch founder and president Poppy Baker, 81, of Atherton Road, Clayhall, said: “It’s very, very sad. Not only for me, but quite a lot of our members have said they will miss the different fundraising events.

“But we’re all just getting too old and unfortunately there are no young people coming up to replace us.”

The winding up of the group also spells the end of the annual Bikeathon, which has been supported by the Recorder for the last 10 years.

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The event, held in Valentines Park, raises thousands for the charity each year, which goes directly to aiding research into Leukaemia and lymphoma.

Mrs Baker said: “When we started, the prognosis of anyone with Leukaemia was very limited. Life expectancy wasn’t good.

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“There were so few drugs on the market and there was also an issue with how they were administered.

“All the money we’ve raised has gone to financing research and things have now changed for the better, which is a real achievement.”

Of the �2,172,283 the branch has raised since it was founded in 1973, �49,487 of that has been raised over more than three decades via so-called tiddler money jars which were the brainchild of committee member Pat Roper.

She had the idea of asking people to donate halfpennies, which people did in their droves.

In more recent years, 1p, 2p and 5p coins, and even money of greater value, has been collected in the jars for the good cause.

Mrs Baker founded the branch in the years after her daughter was diagnosed with Leukaemia.

Fundraising events held over the years have included fashion shows, fetes and regular collections in Exchange Ilford.

The nearest branch of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research is now in Brentwood.

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