From adrenalin-filled abseil and zip wire events to the series of brain-teasing KM Big Quiz nights, through to sponsorship of the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards, the money has been raised to support causes that matter to the people of Kent.
And it is not just cash, directly made from events, that has helped our charities. They have told us that, by linking up with the KM Group, they have enjoyed growth from the publicity generated by extensive press coverage, which has encouraged donations.
Kent’s favourite charities, such as the Pilgrims Hospice, Kent Air Ambulance, the Heart of Kent hospice and children’s road safety charity Kent Walking Bus, have all benefited from the massive fund-raising effort.
Some of the highlights of the fund-raising in 2008 include:
* The Canterbury KM Big Quiz, which brought in more than £10,000 for charity, money shared between the city’s RSPCA branch, the League of Friends of Kent and Canterbury Hospital and Kent Walking Bus
* The North West Kent College, Dartford abseil, which raised £11,000 to boost the Darenth Valley Hospital’s Lollipop Appeal
* Maidstone’s Fremlin Walk abseil which also raised £11,000, with the cash going to the Heart of Kent Hospice.
* Medway readers taking part in a high wire challenge at Chatham’s Historic Dockyard raised almost £2,000 for the children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent.
* Thanet readers hurtled down cliffs in Ramsgate’s Screaming Alley abseil to put another £7,000 in CLIC Sargent’s coffers.
* Zip Wire daredevils at Folkestone racecourse whizzed down from the main stand and onto the course itself to bring in a winning total of more than £12,000 for charity, with Pilgrims Hospices receiving a big dividend
Press coverage encouraged caring readers of the Dartford and Gravesend Messenger titles to take part in huge numbers in the Every one Counts campaign, asking those in the district to donate just £1 to help the Ellenor Lions Hospice reach its fund-raising target of £200,000. The hospice is now at the half-way mark and has £100,000 to support its vital work.
Across KM Group publications in 2008, newspaper space has been given over to promote charity events, valued at nearly £2.19m.
Simon Dolby (pictured), manager of the KM Charity Team, said: “The £2.6m figure is phenomenal and represents a huge effort from KM Group readers, our staff and the KM Group as a whole. The sums being raised are truly life-changing. The KM Group is proud to be the catalyst of this community action.”