DJ Lara fund buys shelter for charity

MONEY raised in memory of a Radio Woking DJ who died after falling ill with COVID-19 has bought a special shelter for a charity that cares for people with lifelong learning difficulties.

A JustGiving page set up in tribute to Lara Mcnamee has collected £5,886 from 252 supporters – more than three-and-a-half times the targeted amount. Gift Aid brings the total to more than £7,350.

Jon Andrews with the shelter built for clients of Sunnybank Trust with money raised in memory of Lara Mcnamee

The fund was set up by Lara’s fiancé Jon Andrews, in aid of Sunnybank Trust, which has installed the shelter in its allotment at Epsom.

Clients of the charity tend to the plants on the allotment and will use the shelter for craft activities.

“The result of the fundraising is fantastic,” said Jon, who was a fellow Radio Woking presenter with 45-year-old Lara and works for Sunnybank.

“I’m really pleased with the amount that has been donated in Lara’s memory and the shelter will be a lasting tribute to her.”

Jon and Lara on Christmas Day 2018, when they got engaged

Due to a connection with one of Jon’s friends, the organisers of the annual fundraising Christmas tree at Ockham Common gave £500 to the cause. “Jon and the great work of the Sunnybank Trust have touched our hearts during what’s been a very difficult year,” they said.

The shelter was officially opened during a ceremony in which Epsom and Ewell MP Chris Grayling planted a tree in memory of Sunnybank members who died during the pandemic.

Jon has arranged for a plaque engraved with words from his and Lara’s favourite song, Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles, to be fixed to the structure.

His chosen lines are “And now we meet in an abandoned studio; We hear the playback and it seems so long ago; And you remember the jingles used to go”.

Lara became ill in mid-December, when they both tested positive for the coronavirus and self-isolated. She felt very unwell a few days later and was taken by ambulance to St Peter’s Hospital from their home in Woking on 16 December.

Lara, who had asthma, was admitted to intensive care the weekend before Christmas and died from heart failure on 28 December. She and Jon had hoped to marry early this year.

Jon is aiming to hold a memorial service for her at Woking United Reformed Church when permitted by the COVID-19 rules.

He is keeping the fundraising appeal for Sunnybank open – to donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/laramcnameeinmemory

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