AT THE Dorset Echo we are proud to support the county’s many fundraisers and we are amazed at the different things people come up with to raise money for their chosen cause.

Here we take a look at some of Dorset’s most memorable and craziest fundraising ideas.

Feel free to pick your favourite from this list or let us know of any others we have covered over the years that have made you smile.




The Windy 500

Dorset Echo:

YOU MAY struggle to find Ethiopia on many Dorset bus timetables but Addis Ababa was the chosen destination when Steve Blackmore boarded a double decker bus with 11 family members and friends in Weymouth back in 2008.

After a month on the road they completed the 5,500-mile route and raised more than £5,000 for child cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

When Steve returned home he had so many people asking if they could come on his next trip that he knew he wouldn’t be able to fit them in one vehicle and the idea for the Windy 500 was born.

The challenge has become a regular event and sees teams in vehicle bought for under £500 traipsing across thousands of miles across far flung destinations with the next day’s route revealed to entrants as they go along.

Last year 17 teams took part in the event and raised £17,000 for Julia’s House children’s hospice.

Competitors will set off for this year’s event on June 13, check out our latest story on the event here.


Ron Jenkinson

Dorset Echo:

IF YOU were told that the headteacher of a Dorchester middle school was up on the roof of the building you might be forgiven for thinking his pupils had finally sent him round the bend.

When Ron Jenkinson took to the top of St Osmund’s Middle School back in 2009 he was actually helping schoolchildren more than 3,000 miles away in Africa.

The gutsy headteacher braved wind and rain as he set up camp on the school roof for more than 24 hours to raise funds for the Grace Secondary School in Sudan as part of a fundraising project run by Dorchester couple Claire and Richard Budd.

Ron’s overnight vigil saw more than £4,000 raised for the new school, which was opened the following year after Mr and Mrs Budd raised over £100,000.


Lewis Taylor

Dorset Echo:

PLUCKY schoolboy Lewis Taylor must have been off his trolley when he decided on his fundraising idea for the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust.

Well trolleys were certainly on his mind anyway as the then 14-year-old came up with the idea of wheeling a shopping trolley 12 miles from his home in Littlemoor to All Saints School in Wyke Regis and back again.

Just to make the challenge harder he decided to weigh down his charity with two 20kg tyres and 60kg in weights.

He raised more than £700.


Ruth Moon

Dorset Echo: ON THE MARCH: Ruth Moon setting off with family and friends for seven-mile sponsored walk for Alzheimer's Society

WALKING seven miles might not sound like one of the most memorable charity challenges we have covered but that is before you discover that fundraiser Ruth Moon is a 103-year-old great grandmother.

The centenarian from Dorchester walked from Brewers Quay to the Nothe Fort and then through Weymouth town centre and along the seafront to Bowleaze and back in February this year.

With a stop for lunch she completed the charity feat in five hours and raised more than £3,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Ruth said afterwards: “I’m looking forward to a cup of tea and family party to celebrate.”

Check out the full story of Ruth’s walk here.


Rod Drew

Dorset Echo:

MOST of us got pretty excited when our country hosted the Olympics back in 2012 and for many that excitement started with the arrival of the Olympic torch.

But while we all waited patiently for the flame to come through our communities one man was on a mission to keep the torch in his sights.

Cyslist Rod Drew, from Dorchester, peddled 4,030 miles as he followed the torch on its 64 day tour of Britain and raised more than £3,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The feat was remarkable enough on its own, but was made even more incredible when it was revealed that the 67-year-old had previously undergone a double hip replacement.

Dorset Echo:


Chase the Pudding

Dorset Echo: ON THE RUN: Last year’s Chase the Christmas pudding event

IMAGINE yourself a stranger to Weymouth walking along the seafront on a cold and wet Sunday morning in December, maybe a bit bleary eyed from festive celebrations the night before.

You look over to the beach and what do you see – a person dressed as a giant Christmas pudding being chased along the beach by a crowd of runners in Santa suits.

No, you’re not hallucinating – this is the Chase the Pudding event that has become a fixture in the town’s calendar.

More than 100 people took part in last year’s 5km run, which raised funds for the British Heart Foundation.

The winner of the race has the dubious honour of being the ‘pudding’ the following year.


Christmas Day Harbour Swim

Dorset Echo: Weymouth Harbour swim

THERE must be something in the water (or whatever they are drinking at that time of year) in Weymouth during the festive period as it seems to be a peak time for crazy charity challenges.

For all of us Christmas has its traditions – singing carols, giving presents, turkey dinners and mince pies to name a few.

For a select few the big day also includes a quick dip in the icy cold waters of Weymouth harbour.

The event, organised by the Weymouth and Portland Lions Club, sees hundreds of people take part each year for a range of good causes and has been running for more than 20 years.


Rik Vanhouttegham

Dorset Echo:

VETERINARY surgeon Rik Vanhoutteghem had a prickly encounter after coming up with a novel way to support Dorchester’s Durnovaria Silver Band as it sought funds for a new home.

He decided to run for 24 hours non-stop – in bare feet.

Rik spent the night running around the grass track at the Thomas Hardye School but had a shock in the early hours when he trod on something sharp in the darkness.

He turned on his torch to find he had trodden on a hedgehog – Rik was obviously the right man for any animal assistance if it was needed but fortunately the little creature was unharmed.

Rik also fortunately emerged unscathed and was able to carry on his challenge, which he finished by running to join the band as they were performing.

He managed to raise around £3,000 for the cause and the band is now set up in its new permanent home.


Wacky Hair for Weldmar

Dorset Echo:

A DORSET hospice has come up with a hair raising way of boosting funds for its vital work.

The Weldmar Hospicecare Trust’s Wacky Hair day has been embraced by schools and businesses all over the local area.

The event has been running for the last three years and the latest event in December saw people don wigs and beehives and dye their hair crazy colours to help raise thousands of pounds for the hospice charity.

Many of those taking part also received a visit from the charity’s mascot Weldbaa.


Mongol Rally

Dorset Echo:

AN ELDERLY Fiat Punto called Bruce was the star as an intrepid team of charity fundraisers completed an epic 10,000-mile journey.

Maria Robinson and Steve Crabtree from Bridport were joined by David Dignam and Tom Brain to form the Mad Hatters Tea Party team in the 2012 Mongol Rally.

Of the 300 cars that took part only 50 made it to the end of the journey after overcoming rugged terrain in remote places such as Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

Bruce did not quite make it the whole way unaided as he died around 300 miles from the finish line in Ulan Bator and had to be towed along the final stage.

The team raised £3,000 for charities Plan-UK, Shelterbox and The Lotus Children’s Centre.