Meet a Center Parcs fundraiser

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Meet Johnny French, one of a team of enthusiastic and energetic charity champions

helping Center Parcs reach their target of raising £140,000 this year.

How did you get involved with fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity? 

I heard about the charity champion fundraiser role while working at Center Parcs. I thought it would be a great opportunity as I have enjoyed taking part in charity events in the past, including several half marathons. I knew I could use my experience as a sports and activities assistant manager to come up with some good activities that our guests and staff could take part in and enjoy. I am delighted to be able to help to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, it is a great cause.

Which activity have you enjoyed the most?

I really enjoyed running in the Great North Run last September. It was a fantastic experience and there was a brilliant atmosphere. I also achieved my quickest ever time for a half marathon. I think running for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity inspired me to push myself. I finished in 50th position overall in the race.

What do you like most about being a fundraiser?

I like coming up with new ideas to raise money for the charity. We are currently running charity teddy hunts for our guests, which are proving to be really popular as children seem to love the event. I really enjoyed creating the session plans and designing the maps and clues for the event.

What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

The charity Staff Whinfell Euro 2012 football tournament in March should be great fun.

What has been the biggest fundraising challenge so far?

Getting our charity activities onto the Center Parcs online booking system took a bit of time. Now the events are on the online booking system, it’s great that our guests can book our charity activities in addition to all the other activities we provide.

What is your secret fundraising tip?

Research what other charities are doing for fundraising events, as there are some fantastic ideas out there, from sponsored dog walks to children’s treasure hunts.

If you could run any event/activity where resource was not an issue, what would you do?

I’d love to do a sponsored trek through the rainforest.

What is the silliest thing you've ever done for charity?

I was auctioned for charity when I was playing for my university football team. During the auction, my face lit up when a pretty girl bid £30 for me to spend the day with her, but my face soon dropped when the next bid came in. The university rugby team had successfully bid £30 pounds and one pence for me. I had to attend their training sessions for a week, where I took on the role of a battering pad for the players to smash into. It was horrible.

What is the most original fundraising experience you’ve ever had?

I think the Center Parcs rubber duck races were a brilliant idea. They are such an easy event to organise and everyone loves to take part. The races are also lots of fun to watch.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about supporting GOSH?

GOSH is a fantastic cause. The equipment the hospital use to treat children is state-of-the-art and the staff have the expertise required to treat children with complex needs and conditions. The charity relies on the support from charity events, fundraising and donations and, in my opinion, is a very worthy cause.