Pirates part willing victims from their cash

A BAND of pirates on a small fleet of boats stalked the River Thames recently – but it was all in aid of a good cause, collecting for local charity the White Lodge Centre.

Penton Hook Yacht Club pirates with Tania Gallagher from the White Lodge Centre

Organised by the Penton Hook Yacht Club, the Pirate Day is an annual fundraising event for the Chertsey-based charity which provides services to help children and adults with a range of disabilities.

Club members dressed as pirates took collecting buckets among onlookers at riverside pubs and along the towpath.

Pirate Nellie was part of the fundraising crew

“We raised more than £550 from the generosity of the pub goers and people out and about for a walk,” said one of the organisers, Paul Blake. “It was again a great day, and we are proud of being able to support such a good cause.”

The yacht club is also holding a charity auction this Saturday to add to the funds raised, with lots including tickets to see both Manchester United and Brentford play in the Premiership, plus a boat valet and other, more unusual, items.

“Last year I auctioned off my silver pirate trousers which raised £200, and there is a gold pair going in this year which I hope will do even better,” said Paul.

Tania Gallagher from the White Lodge Centre met the pirate crew at The Anglers pub in Walton-on-Thames and thanked them for their efforts.

“Your team of young pirates did a great job getting people to part with their money,” she said. “From what I saw on the day, they were very persuasive and determined to raise as much as possible in support of White Lodge, which was wonderful.”

The centre is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and is aiming to raise £60,000 to support what it calls “our most critical and growing services”.

They currently support over 2,500 children and adults with disabilities and their families.

About to patrol the River Thames in search of treasure (charity donations)

“This number is rising and we need to be there for everyone who needs us. For nearly 60 years White Lodge has quite literally changed the lives of thousands of indivduals and the need today has never been greater.”

The charity provides a wide variety of facilities and services, including physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, specialist nursery, hydrotherapy, holiday clubs, personal support in the home, fitness and rehabilitation and many other activities including trips out.

Its Change A Life appeal aims to show people all the good a donation can make. Just £5 provides an arts and crafts resource pack to children in the specialist nursery, while £25 provides a child aged between 4 and 12 with 1-2-1 support from a playworker for three hours, and £100 supports a pre-school child with cerebral palsy with a hydrotherapy session for five 30-minute sessions.

For more details, visit www.whitelodgecentre.co.uk/get-involved/donate/appeals/change-a-life.

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