A Barnsley officer with a passion for racing pigeons has raised over £4,000 for charity, to support victims and their families affected by child sexual exploitation (CSE).
PC Chris Gibson took it upon himself to think of a unique and quirky fundraising idea to raise money for a children’s charity, after someone close to him was affected by CSE.
Racing pigeons in his spare time, PC Gibson decided to utilise his hobby and contact some famous names in the sport, to raise money for Barnardo’s, fuelled by his own personal experiences in dealing with CSE.
“CSE can have a devastating impact on not only the victim, but on their loved ones too, as together as a family they try to rebuild their lives,” said PC Gibson.
“Earlier this year, someone I knew was a victim of CSE. It was a horrifying, emotional and extremely upsetting event for the girl and this also had a huge knock-on effect for the whole family.”
With that at the forefront of his mind, PC Gibson set about organising a fun-filled evening, to raise as much money as possible for the charity that helped his friend and their daughter so much.
He added: “I began by organising an internet auction of top quality racing pigeons, as I have experience in racing them.
“I got in touch with several famous names within the sport and asked them to donate the promise of 2018 youngsters from their best breeding pigeons for the highest bidders to race next year.
“This raised over £3,000 which was then bolstered by a further £1,500 after auctioning off another four birds on the evening we presented a cheque to Barnardo’s last week. In total, we’ve raised £4,861 which I’m hopeful will rise to £5,000 as donations are still coming in.
“I’m thrilled to have been able to present this to Barnardo’s, who have offered tremendous support to the girl and her family. Trying to rebuild and regain confidence for victims of CSE can be extremely difficult, and Barnardo’s help people to do just that.
“Not only that but they help the families of victims who may also be suffering emotionally as well as they try to come to terms with what’s happened and the impact it has had on their lives.
“I’m really pleased to have raised so much money for such a fantastic, worthwhile charity who support children and their families every day. I’d also like to thank everyone who donated and got involved, the presentation evening was great fun and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did – and learnt a bit about racing pigeons in the process!”
Pictured: Cliff Schofield, PC Gibson holding the cheque and Marie Harris on the right, manager at Barnardo’s.