A dedicated local resident who helped raise around £200,000 for three local charities has had to call it a day after a long struggle with a degenerative lung disease took its toll.
James Beeching, who lives in St Leonards, began fundraising with 10 friends four years ago, raising money for Cystic Fibrosis, a condition James has had since birth. James said the campaign kick started his desire to help others: “This small charity ‘Barcelona Boomerang’ became a household name during a 12 month campaign, hosting a variety of events and initiatives that saw the team raise over £50,000 for the charity.”
James put his new found skills to good use and, in March 2013, began working for St Michael’s Hospice as a Community Fundraiser. He spent the next two years creating and delivering a number of fundraising events and initiatives, including the first ‘Colour the Coast’ event in Hastings Old Town last summer, raising over £13,000.
Barcelona Boomerang was voted ‘Charity of the Year’ in the Hastings Observer Achiever’s Awards 2014.
James joined the local Round Table, where he continued to work raising money within the local community through the Hastings Beer Festival and other fundraising ventures. James introduced the ‘Pitch for a Pitch’ campaign to the festival, which gives local charities and non-profit organisations a chance to bid for the pitch.
James’ illness means he has to cut back on fundraising to concentrate on his home life and dedicate spending more time with 8 month old twins Isobel and Logan. He said: “Cystic Fibrosis is a degenerative condition that requires extensive treatment, including regular nebulisers, daily physiotherapy and the need to take over 30 tablets per day. The disease effects many organs, but the biggest problem in most cases is to maintain lung function. Due to a decline in my health I sadly, and reluctantly, resigned from my post at St Michael’s Hospice.”
Head of Fundraising at St Michael’s Hospice, Perdita Chamberlain said James will be missed. “‘We are all sorry to see James leave – his passion for the organisation, and the enthusiasm with which he took on every fundraising event were palpable. He has enthused and engaged, raised both money and awareness and leaves behind several new annual events.”
James added: “I am incredibly sad to be saying goodbye to the Hospice. I am very proud to have been a part of a team that provides such a vital service, but I have to think about my health and my family. Having Cystic Fibrosis at the age of 32 is not an easy ride. I only have a certain amount of energy and I now need to focus that on my family.”