An eggs-traordinary story of goodwill

Nick South from Edmonton Rotary Club on its long-running Easter raffle scheme

Chandu Patel and Eimear Walsh, owner of The Winchmore, with the pub’s Rotary egg
Chandu Patel (right) and Eimear Walsh (left), owner of The Winchmore, with the pub’s Rotary egg

This is the story of a raffle with a difference. Or, to be precise, 53 raffles each with the prize of a large Easter egg donated by Edmonton Rotary Club. Apart from a gap caused by the pandemic, this project has been running for ten years. Like many ongoing projects, it began as an intended one-off.

“The original idea was to donate one huge egg to the children’s ward at North Middlesex Hospital,” says Chandu Patel, the mastermind behind the current annual event.

“A seven-kilo egg was made especially for us by a master chef. The children thought it was wonderful but there was far too much chocolate for even a ward full of kids to consume. You can imagine the mess they made! A lot of the egg was wasted and had to be thrown away.”

That was in 2009. A few years later, with a similar budget, Chandu introduced a new version of the scheme. “We felt the money could be made to go further. So, instead of one seven-kilo egg we opted for seven one-kilo eggs, each of which we gave to a local primary school. Each school would then raise its own funds by raffling the egg.”

It worked. Success breeds popularity, and word soon got around. Each year there are more and more schools wanting to take part, not to mention scout and guide groups. But how could we satisfy the growing demand without the cost spiralling?

Chandu continues the story: “We talked to local businesses such as Jemca Toyota, restaurants and pubs such as The Beehive, and The Winchmore where we hold our weekly meetings, to ask if they would each raffle an egg on our behalf. We provide the egg, a poster, raffle tickets and a collecting pot. The money these sponsors raise comes back to Rotary and is used to buy the Easter eggs the following year. In this way the project became self-funding.

“However, increasing demand means that we now need more sponsors to help us cover the cost of the eggs – we bought 53 this year!”

Sourcing outsized Easter eggs can be a challenge. Even though 53 kilos of chocolate might sound like a lot, it was too small an order to interest the major manufacturers. Until last year the eggs were supplied by a small company in Italy, but this is no longer viable due to shipping delays. Fortunately, we found an alternative supplier in Kent, and this year’s eggs were made in the UK. They’re 50% bigger, too.

Let’s end the story where it began. We haven’t forgotten the children at North Middlesex Hospital. Each year, we donate to the hospital enough standard-size chocolate eggs for each child on Starlight Ward to receive their own Rotary Easter egg.

For more information about Edmonton Rotary Club and to get involved:
Email [email protected]
Visit edmontonrotary.org.uk

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