My WiSH charity Soapbox Challenge on hold for 2020 – but it will be back next year
The brakes have been put on a popular annual event raising funds for My WiSH charity, after organisers decided the safety of all involved was paramount.
The Soapbox Challenge was to have taken place in Bury St Edmunds on July 18, but instead will return next year on September 4.
Sue Smith, My WiSH head of fund-raising, said the decision to cancel this year’s fund-raiser was disappointing but necessary as a result of coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
“It is not just the uncertainty over what restrictions might be in place by July 18, but the teams taking part haven’t been able to get together to build their soapboxes either,” she said.
“It’s devastating for us to put it on hold this year as it is the highlight of the charity’s event year. The Soapbox Challenge is something we are so proud of and so many people have come on board and supported it.
“We have seen so many weird and wacky soapboxes and every year you don’t know what you’re going to get until the day. We love it.
“It is an event that brings so many different people and groups together and it is a lovely family day out.”
She said 2019’s challenge had raised £19,000 – with the expectation of raising more in 2020 – so the loss of this year’s event was a significant financial blow for the charity.
“The funds from the Soapbox Challenge would have gone to the Butterfly Appeal to build a private end-of-life facility and garden at West Suffolk Hospital. The sooner we can reach the appeal’s £340,000 target then the sooner we can get it built,” said Sue.
“This is going to give us a financial knock but we have to keep everyone safe, we want to look after everyone and we don’t want to put anyone at risk.”
Sue is urging teams to get booked in now for 2021.
Next year’s challenge will again take place in Mount Road and follow the same format as previous years, with a maximum of 25 teams taking part.
There will be five hotly-contested trophies up for grabs: best soapbox; best presentation; fastest time; best fund-raiser and overall champion.
“It is always popular as teams want to return to defend their titles,” said Sue.
“If they’ve won a trophy in the past, they want to keep hold of it. The challenge has become a real community face-off almost.”
Entry costs £100 per team.
To sign up, go to http://mywishcharity.wsh.nhs.uk/Charity/Events/SoapBoxChallenge.aspx