Harborough author praised for her outstanding fundraising efforts for Parkinson's
Meriel Buxton has received a huge honour after being named Cure Parkinson’s Fundraiser of the Year
Market Harborough author and retired solicitor Meriel Buxton has received a huge honour after being named Cure Parkinson’s Fundraiser of the Year.
Meriel has led the Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland Committee in raising an “astonishing amount for the charity” since it was founded in 2012.
Her hard work and dedication was recognised in 2020 as she remained determined to find new ways to generate funds despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland Committee was set up shortly after Meriel’s brother Gavin Cowen, who lived with Parkinson’s, sadly died.
Both Meriel and Gavin’s wife Toots Cowen, who is also living with Parkinson’s, felt they wanted to do something to help.
Through many “exciting and innovative fundraising initiatives” over the years, Meriel and the committee have raised about £350,000 for Cure Parkinson’s.
As 2020 began to unfold, however, it soon became clear that events already set up could not go ahead as expected amid the coronavirus lockdowns.
But Meriel remained determined to continue raising funds and awareness.
She worked incredibly hard to create other events which could go ahead in the new virtual and socially-distanced world.
First, Meriel had the idea of producing a special glossy magazine, called ‘Cabbages and Kings’.
It featured articles from fantastic writers such as Terry Waite CBE and Cure Parkinson’s patrons Paul Mayhew-Archer MBE and Joanna Trollope CBE.
The magazine covered a wide range of topics and was hugely popular, raising just under £14,000.
Meriel also led the committee in staging an incredible virtual Christmas Market which exceeded all expectations.
The market featured over 120 thoughtful and appealing items from Christmas trees and puddings, to a week in a countryside cottage, restaurant vouchers and a canoeing adventure.
The market raked in over £16,000.
Meriel’s dedication has also helped to make more people across Harborough aware of both Parkinson’s and the charity.
Cure Parkinson’s chief executive Will Cook said: “We are delighted Meriel has continued to support Cure Parkinson’s for so many years.
“We are particularly grateful for her incredible efforts in 2020, a difficult year for so many.
“Meriel has worked hard to galvanise her networks.
“She has always rewarded all her fellow supporters with thought-provoking and valuable feedback in return for their generous donations.”
Will added: “It speaks volumes about Meriel that she insists this is a team effort - and our sincere thanks also go to the committee who dedicate so much time to supporting the cause.
“But we are delighted to recognise Meriel at the helm.”
Meriel said: “The main highlights for both these projects were the amazing generosity of friends and strangers alike.
“All the committee have been great throughout.
“Toots is a tower of strength in every possible direction - and James is a brilliant treasurer.
“There were inevitably a few problems, particularly when restrictions became tighter just before Christmas.
“There is still a Christmas cake marooned in Hampshire.
“But thankfully that was bought by my son who will happily eat Christmas cake at Easter or August Bank Holiday!”