Going to jail for charity

Debbie Bonewell and Claire Hawker took part in jail and bail to raise money for Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice

Debbie Bonewell and Claire Hawker took part in jail and bail to raise money for Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice

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Twelve fundraising felons found themselves behind bars recently as they were arrested and taken to prison - all in the name of charity.

The prisoners were raising money for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, and each had to raise a minimum of £500 bail money before they could be released.

The group were arrested at The Regents Hotel in Doncaster, before being taken to HMP Marshgate in a police van.

Once registered and changed into their prison uniforms they were locked up in their cells and left there until they were escorted to the bail room.

That was when they set about calling family and friends - and anyone else they could think of - to beg for contributions towards their bail.

Only once they had managed to raise £500 each for Bluebell Wood were they released and allowed home.

Maltby residents Debbie Bonewell and Claire Hawker were two of the prisoners taking part in the event.

They are both members of a Maltby support group which organises events and fundraisers for the hospice in North Anston.

Debbie, 34, said: “It was a great experience and really changed my perception of what life in prison is really like.”

“Myself and my partner in crime Claire managed to raise over £3,000 between us so we’re thrilled that this money will go to such a great worthy local charity.”

Each year Bluebell Wood needs to raise over £3 million to provide care to children and their families and receives no statutory Government funding.

Currently the Bluebell Wood care team provide support to over 150 children and their families in South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire, North Notts and parts of North Lincolnshire - and this number is growing with new referrals every week.

It offers 24-hour care to children on a one to one basis and allows families to stay and have a break.

Helen Mower, head of fundraising at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice said the day had been a great success.

She added: “It was a great day, and very exciting to watch when they were arrested and it’s fabulous to see so many take part and support us.”

“We’re hoping Jail and Bail will raise in excess of £15,000 for the hospice which will help us to continue to provide exceptional care for children in the local area who have a life limiting condition.”

To find out more about the work of Bluebell Wood or to get involved with fundraising, visit the website at www.bluebellwood.org