Hastings mum’s bell ringing marathon to help fight blood cancer

Sponsored bell ring at St Peter's Church, Bexhill.''Julie McDonnell and Roy Cox. SUS-151222-160716001

Sponsored bell ring at St Peter's Church, Bexhill.''Julie McDonnell and Roy Cox. SUS-151222-160716001

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Bells will be ringing out across Bexhill on Sunday afternoon as a group of campanologists embark on an ‘impossible’ three-hour challenge in aid of a life-saving charity.

Julie McDonnell came up with the ‘barking mad’ challenge to raise funds for the Anthony Nolan Trust – a charity which saves the lives of people with blood cancer – and a cause very close to Julie’s heart.

Julie, who has been bell ringing for just 14 months, said: “This is a difficult challenge for me at the moment, not just physically hard but coupled with the challenge of ringing Grandsire Triples from a new ringer’s perspective, it’s really hard. The challenge involves up to 5,040 changes which, trust me, is an awful lot.

“I passionately want to raise some money so more lives are saved through the excellent work of this trust.

“The work and research that they are involved is incredible but the trust is only funded by donations.

“My family and I have benefited from the trust and continue to be supported. Life is very dark when you think you have no future and Anthony Nolan and its people have bought light and hope to thousands of people every year.”

The physically gruelling challenge will see Julie and her six fellow campanologists ringing for three-hours straight – with some describing Julie’s challenge as ‘impossible’.

The 48-year-old said: “I have had quite a lot of interest because its such a crazy thing to do.”

Julie, who lives in Hastings, regularly rings at her church in Brede. However, the church only has six bells, and with eight required for the ding-dong marathon, St Peter’s Church in Bexhill was chosen as a more suitable venue.

Craig Wills, community fundraiser, at Anthony Nolan, said: “The fundraising that Julie is doing makes such a big difference to people with blood cancer. It costs £60 to recruit each person to the Anthony Nolan register, so fundraising is a vital part of our lifesaving work. The more fundraising we do, the more potential donors we can recruit onto the stem cell register, and the more lives we can save.”

Sponsor Julie at www.justgiving.com/Julie-Mcdonnell/?utm_source=Facebook

FACTS ABOUT THE ANTHONY NOLAN TRUST

* About 2,000 people in the UK need a stem cell transplant from a stranger every year.

* Ninety per cent of donors donate through PBSC (peripheral blood stem cell collection). This is a simple, outpatient procedure similar to giving blood.

* ANT needs more young men to sign up, as they are most likely to be chosen to donate but make up just 15 per cent of the register.

* ANT also needs more people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to sign up. Only 60 per cent of transplant recipients receive the best match. This drops dramatically to around 20 per cent if you’re from a black, Asian or ethnic minority background.

* It costs £60 to add each new donor to the register.

* To join the Anthony Nolan register, you must be 16-30 and healthy.