Extras star helps bring hope to disabled childrenBy Alice Murphy
October 07, 2008
A string of backers for a Wokingham children’s charity has been announced, including an international comedian.
Francesca Martinez, who has appeared in Ricky Gervais’ Extras, has been announced as one of the patrons of Building for the Future.
Councillor Annette Drake is also a patron of the charity, which aims to raise funds for a custom-built centre for disabled children.
The two patrons were introduced, alongside several trustees, over wine and canapés at the Great House Hotel in Sonning last Thursday.
When she accepted the offer, Miss Martinez said: “I first heard about Building for the Future in May this year when I performed at their charity evening.
“I was touched by the dedication and commitment that the parents showed and how they were fighting for equality for their children.
“The practical needs may be unique but every child needs to play and feel part of a loving community.”
She is looking into having a benefit concert for the charity next year, with other high profile comedians taking part.
The charity’s trustees include people with strong local links and good business contacts.
They include Mark Ashwell from TradeMark Windows, Stan Hetherington, who is part of the Wokingham Winter Carnival organising committee, Kate Lole, who runs Yellow Poppy Marketing and also helps organise the carnival, and local businessman Andy Barden, alongside Susan Costello as secretary and treasurer Gisela Sharpe.
Building for the Future chairman Jane Holmes said: “I am thrilled to share the news of our trustees and patrons.
“Since forming a year ago, we have received an overwhelming amount of interest and support from local businesspeople and now six of them have come on board to help us drive the charity forward.
“They each have the perfect mix of being great thinkers and doers and having real community spirit.
“This board of trustees will certainly help us take the charity forward and help us raise the profile of the charity and to ultimately raise the several million pounds that we need to build our centre.”
New trustee Mrs Lole said: “I’m absolutely delighted and honoured to be involved.
“It’s quite a responsibility but they have got so much energy. It is so sorely needed because you don’t realise just how much you go through when you have a disabled child – you use up so much of your time on your family.
“Between us we have so much experience and knowledge so hopefully we can make this a success.”
Mr Hetherington said: “We would love to hear from any landowners who feel they could donate us a piece of land.”
For more information, see www.buildingforthefuturewokingham.org.