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Wisbech fundraisers Ben and Sarah receive top national award

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A couple from Wisbech, who have raised vital funds for the Macular Society, have been presented with one of the leading sight loss charity’s top national awards.

Sarah and Ben Dodkin receive their award from John Dunston (right). (4920015)
Sarah and Ben Dodkin receive their award from John Dunston (right). (4920015)

Ben and Sarah Dodkin were joint winners at this year’s Macular Society Awards for Excellence. The pair, both 33, received the top prize 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 Macular Society, 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: “Even though we knew we’d been nominated, it was still a shock when we found out we’d won. Even though we’ve now got the award, it’s really still sinking in. Everyone at the Macular Society has been so kind and helpful, so we’re very honoured to have been selected.”

Ben said: “We’ve had lots of help with all of the fundraising activities from so many family and friends, so this is an award for them too; not just the two of us.”

Ben and Sarah received their award from Macular Society chairman John Dunston at the charity’s national annual conference, which took place at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London.

Running for a 10th year in 2018, 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.

Chairman’s Award for Fundraising was one of five honours handed out by the charity as part of the awards. There were also prizes for Clinical Service of the Year; Optician / Optometrist of the Year; Rising Star of the Year, and a Chairman’s Award for Volunteering.

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.

Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the Macular Society, said: “The work of all our fundraisers makes such a difference – without them, we simply could not exist. They play a crucial role in enabling us to help and support people with macular disease. The money they raise also helps to fund cutting-edge scientific studies into macular disease, which will enable us to beat it in the future.

“Ben and Sarah’s fundraising efforts have been nothing short of sensational and it’s only right that they should be recognised in this way. I’d like to take the opportunity to say a massive thank you to them, and all of their friends and family, for all everything they’ve done to raise money 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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