Generally, fundraisers are very serious undertakings, with extraordinary feats performed to attract donations from far and wide.

However, for one Andover resident, their fundraising attempt has taken a turn for the fantastic.

Iris Andersen will be offering a giant stuffed unicorn as part of her efforts to raise money for a Mark Way School student to undertake their silver Duke of Edinburgh award, in addition to walking around her local green space.

Iris told the Advertiser: “This is a great pleasure to do this for a young person for the Duke of Edinburgh award and I was pleased to support this with fundraising. Under the Covid restrictions, I will be going out again on the field, which is open space to raise the funds and have also kindly been offered the giant unicorn as well.”

The 73-year-old is no stranger to fundraising, having walked 390 laps of her local cricket pitch in order to raise funds for Toby Pearce, an Andover boy who required a new wheelchair to suit his needs. She recently collected a cheque on his behalf to contribute towards accessories for the chair.

Kerry Ward, from The Mark Way School, welcomed Iris’s fundraising efforts as part of donations from the whole community.

She said: “One of our students would like to take part in the Silver Award challenge with The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. There is a personal cost to them and their family which has proved difficult to fund in such uncertain times. The funding will enable them to significantly enhance their life skills and provide a real sense of achievement.

“Iris Andersen has kindly said she will support fundraising for one of our students. This is a fantastic opportunity for our young person and we really do hope it is something you would like to invest in. This is an excellent way for the young person to build resilience, communication and tolerance skills which are part of our school’s ‘virtues.’"

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was established in 1956, and has three levels, of which Silver is the middle tier. As part of the award, young people must volunteer in the community, learn or develop a skill, undertake a new physical activity and go on an expedition.

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