Around 4,000 people descended on Belper’s Rugby Club for the second annual Penny’s Fund Belper Games on Saturday to help raise cash for three charities.
The event featured an ‘It’s a Knockout’-style team tournament, a huge craft fair, food and drink festival, plus lots of attractions for families to enjoy.
It was held in memory of Penny Wheeler, who lost her battle with pulmonary fibrosis and scleroderma in December 2012. Penny’s Fund was originally set up to help pay for her treatments, now it raises money for the two charities that support people who suffer from the same conditions Penny did.
Sponsorship money is yet to be collected, however, around £8,000 was raised on the day from entry fees and donations and every penny will go to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Trust, Scleroderma Society and also Ataxia UK. Penny’s Fund teamed up with Ataxia sufferer Kerry Bull, who is also from Belper, to help raise awareness and funds for the charity.
Penny’s husband and event organiser, Nick Wheeler, said: “We knew this year’s Belper Games were going to be bigger and better than last year but we were so overwhelmed by this year’s response.
“The attendance levels far exceeded what we expected and everyone had a brilliant day. We extended the event this year to include live music and entertainment in the evening and a lot of people stayed throughout the day because they were having such a great time! It was brilliant to take a step back every now and then to look around to see lots of people enjoying themselves and coming together.
“All of the money raised from the event will be split equally between the three charities and I know it will be put to good use to help people and also fund vital research into the diseases.”
Kerry Bull also helped to organise the event, she said: “The Games were a huge success and I am so pleased with the amount of funds raised so far for the charities. I am really keen to raise awareness for Ataxia, because along with pulmonary fibrosis and scleroderma it is a disease that not many people are familiar with. However each of the diseases affects as many people in the UK each year as breast cancer does.
“Ataxia affects movement, balance and speech, and the charity which supports sufferers, Ataxia UK, is aiming to find a cure by 2020, so the any funds raised will hopefully help them on their way to reaching their goal.”
Gemma Sharpe, press officer for the Games said the Penny’s Fund team would like to thank everyone who was involved for their “generosity and kindness”, including everyone who attended, the stallholders, the teams that took part in the Games themselves, the volunteers and the Rugby Club staff.