Hundreds attend Penarth walk in support of family of April Jones
COMMUNITY: More than 200 people gathered for a fundraising walk to show their support for the family of missing five-year-old April Jones. Pictures: Julianne Walsh.
AN ‘emotional’ fundraising walk, in support of the family of missing five-year-old April Jones, was held in Penarth on the weekend - drawing a crowd of more than 200 people.
The group gathered at the Clifftops on Sunday (October 14) and made the short journey to Penarth Pier to show their support, holding a raffle and auction at the Fig Tree terrace on the way.
Blessed by brilliant sunshine, the 11am walk was attended by Penarth deputy town mayor Neil Thomas and led by local mum Natalie Speake, with her four-year-old daughter.
As they made their way along the Esplanade, spectators and tourists broke into applause.
A total of £850 was raised on the day and all proceeds will be donated to the April Jones Fund set up by Machynlleth Town Council.
Natalie said the success of the walk – which was arranged in less than a week - was down to the efforts of everyone who organised, attended and donated to the cause.
“It all started with a Facebook group and it just snowballed from there,” she said.
“We just wanted to help in some way, however little. The response from local people and businesses was phenomenal.”
Once Natalie gained her street collection licence she approached local businesses for help.
“It was given in bucket loads,” she added.
Among those who donated were Andrea’s Flower Boutique, who provided a number of pink bows; the Card Factory, who donated pink helium balloons; and Hi Plan Copyprint.
Thomas Cook on Tynewydd Road in Barry donated a signed Cardiff City shirt, and Penarth painter Sheridan Ward donated a signed print of Penarth Pier to auction. Raffle prizes followed from the Fonehouse on Glebe Street, Source of Beauty salon, the Fig Tree, Pura Vida surf shop, Buzz Beadz online jewellery, Cakes in the City, Deb’s Kitchen, and the Old Post Office Coffee Shop in Barry.
Following the auction and raffle, pink balloons were released from the pier and a moment of silence was held.
“It was a wonderful sense of community spirit, but also a very emotional moment for all who gathered,” added Natalie.
“As I looked back at the sea of people in pink behind me, I felt proud to live in such a caring and generous community.
“Thanks to my family and friends, especially Sharon Crockett and Emma Shumack,” she said.
“Thanks also to Keri Hutchings and Harriet Bleach at Penarth Town Council who were a great support throughout the week of planning, and to photographer Julianne Walsh of Jules Photography who captured the whole day on camera.
“I only started the ball rolling - but it was everyone else who gave it the momentum needed for this very special cause,” she added.
“April Jones is in our thoughts and prayers always.”
Natalie’s parents, Marylyn and Terry Speake, said: “We are so proud of what our daughter achieved and organised in a matter of days with everyone’s help.
“And a very special thanks to the supporters that participated.”
April’s family will decide how donations to the April Jones Fund will be used.