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'Amazing generosity' hailed as duo raise more than £350,000 for worthy causes

PUBLISHED: 07:24 08 December 2019 | UPDATED: 07:24 08 December 2019

Zoiyar Cole (left) and Janet Ellis (right) presenting cheques totalling £10,000 to the respective charities. Pictures: Mick Howes

Zoiyar Cole (left) and Janet Ellis (right) presenting cheques totalling £10,000 to the respective charities. Pictures: Mick Howes

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They teamed up to organise solar strolls and moonlight walks among numerous events over the years.

Zoiyar Cole (left) and Janet Ellis (right) ahead of presenting cheques totalling £10,000 to six charities. Pictures: Mick HowesZoiyar Cole (left) and Janet Ellis (right) ahead of presenting cheques totalling £10,000 to six charities. Pictures: Mick Howes

And two fundraising champions, whose lives have been touched by cancer, are celebrating once more after reaching their latest milestone.

Popular Pakefield fundraisers Zoiyar Cole and Janet Ellis have now raised a staggering £351,000 in less than 20 years.

A certificate of appreciation is presented by the Royal British Legion for fundraising for the Poppy Appeal to
Zoiyar Cole, Janet Ellis and two of her knitting team. Pictures: Mick HowesA certificate of appreciation is presented by the Royal British Legion for fundraising for the Poppy Appeal to Zoiyar Cole, Janet Ellis and two of her knitting team. Pictures: Mick Howes

Despite announcing their intention to take a deserved rest in 2017, their remarkable voluntary efforts have continued to benefit cancer charities and deserving local people.

With Mrs Ellis taking an enforced supporting role after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Mrs Cole and her team of knitters and crocheters have continued their fundraising efforts.

Zoiyar Cole (left) and Janet Ellis (right) with Roberta Lovick (centre) as cheques totalling £10,000 were presented  to six charities. Pictures: Mick HowesZoiyar Cole (left) and Janet Ellis (right) with Roberta Lovick (centre) as cheques totalling £10,000 were presented to six charities. Pictures: Mick Howes

It comes after the Paul Cole Cancer Fund was first set up in memory of Zoiyar's son, who died from bowel cancer in 1999, aged just 35.

Mrs Cole, 77, started fundraising in 2000, and after meeting Mrs Ellis, 76, in early 2001 it "all carried on from there."

From an inaugural coffee morning that Mrs Cole organised to raise funds for Macmillan nurses, to the sale of thousands of knitted emblems this year, the Pakefield pair have united to help others.

The milestone was surpassed as they presented cheques totalling almost £10,000 to six charities on Friday, December 6.

At a presentation ceremony in the Paul Cole Room at the Louise Hamilton Centre, based at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, cheques were handed over to the Louise Hamilton Centre, East Anglian Air Ambulance, Marie Curie, Sandra Chapman Centre and the Royal British Legion.

One of the recipients, Roberta Lovick, mother of Gorleston-born Louise Hamilton who died in 1998 two years after being diagnosed with breast cancer and after whom the Louise Hamilton Centre is named, expressed thanks on behalf of the beneficiaries.

Congratulating Mrs Cole and Mrs Ellis, Mrs Lovick said: "What you have done over the years is amazing.

"You have spearheaded the fundraising effort.

"We know there are a lot of other people who also help but without you at the helm and with your generosity of spirit this wouldn't have happened."

Future fundraising

Looking ahead, Mrs Cole thanked her team of seven knitters and crocheters, who had made 2,000 poppies and 1,000 hedgehogs this year.

She said: "Next year we intend to continue knitting and crocheting poppies, rabbits, hedgehogs and Christmas trees.

"We still need donations of wool - any pastel colours, yellow, red, black and green would be appreciated."

Mrs Ellis said: "We think it is better to give a modest sum to a number of good causes rather than a large sum to one.

"Separately to this presentation we have given a cheque to 'Littlelifts' a local charity that provides comfort boxes to women having treatment for breast cancer.

"We have raised nearly £10,000 this year and over the years we have been doing a lot more fundraising but age is now taking its toll."

Mrs Lovick added: "The Sandra Chapman ward deals with the medical side and the Louise Hamilton centre provides service which otherwise would not be available on the NHS.

"We offer wigs, for patients as well as lots of support groups.

"We have our own choir, art therapy group, knitting group and we especially concentrate on carers.

"The centre is not funded by NHS and relies on charity to survive. The centre was built and run totally on charitable funds."

If you can help, contact Mrs Cole on 01502 513573.

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