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Wisbech couple are set for national recognition after raising £10,000 for sight loss charity the Macular Society

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A couple from Wisbech have been recognised for their work to raise vital funds for the Macular Society by being shortlisted for one of the leading sight loss charity’s top national awards.

Ben and Sarah Dodkin have been nominated for a charity'stop national award. (3146259)
Ben and Sarah Dodkin have been nominated for a charity'stop national award. (3146259)

Ben and Sarah Dodkin have received a joint nomination for this year’s Macular Society Awards for Excellence.

The pair, both 33, have been nominated in the Chairman’s Award for Fundraising category. They have raised almost £10,000 for the charity since 2016 when their son, Finley, was diagnosed with a juvenile dystrophy.

Since then, the pair have been involved in a wide range of fundraising activities for the charity, with friends and family joining in at every opportunity to boost their efforts.

Sarah arranged raffles and an auction night, while her parents completed the Peddars Way 50-mile walk.

Ben also donned his running shoes, taking part in the Great North Run, while his aunt organised a race night and an Easter Sunday bike ride.

Sarah said: “When Finley was diagnosed, the ophthalmologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital told us about the Macular Society. We contacted the society’s helpline; they were really helpful and sent us lots of information.”

Ben said: “We started fundraising with a raffle at my workplace in December 2016. We hadn’t done any fundraising before, but we’ve had lots of support from family, friends, colleagues and our local community. Alongside all of the activities, we’ve had several donations from families’ workplaces too.”

Ben and Sarah will find out later this month whether they have been chosen as winners. If successful, they will be presented with an award at the Macular Society’s national annual conference, which takes place at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London, on September 22.

Chairman’s Award for Fundraising is one of five honours handed out by the charity as part of the awards.

Now in its 10th year, the Macular Society Awards for Excellence is run by the charity to celebrate the inspirational work done to provide services and care for people with macular disease all over the UK.

The Macular Society is the national charity for anyone affected by central vision loss. It has more than 400 support groups across the UK, which help to increase the confidence and independence of people affected by macular disease.

Juvenile macular dystrophies are a large number of rare, inherited conditions that affect central vision, not peripheral (side) vision. They can appear in childhood, but some are not diagnosed until later in life.

Sarah said: “The best thing about fundraising has been being able to raise the awareness of juvenile dystrophy in particular as lots of people think macular disease is a condition that only affects older people. We’ve never been nominated for anything like this before and feel very honoured.”

Ben said: “We couldn't have raised the amount of awareness or money we have without the support of those around us. We’ve quite often found ourselves overwhelmed by friends’ and strangers’ generosity. It’s been such a humbling experience and we’re so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful friends, family, colleagues and the wider local community.”

Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the Macular Society, said: “The work of all our fundraisers is absolutely vital – we simply could not exist without them. The money that they raise is crucial in enabling us to support people who currently have macular degeneration. It also helps finance scientific research into macular disease, which boosts our understanding of these conditions, helping us to treat them, and hopefully find a cure.

“Ben and Sarah’s fundraising efforts really have been inspirational. They truly deserve this nomination and I’d like to add my personal thanks to both of them for all of their efforts to raise funds for us.”

For more information about the Awards for Excellence or macular degeneration, please call the Macular Society’s Helpline on 0300 3030 111 or email help@macularsociety.org

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