Feet of fire to walk hot coals in Pulborough

JPCT 110914 S14390097x Horsham. ABC animal sanctuary. Charity walk on hot coals. Maria -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141109-130534001
JPCT 110914 S14390097x Horsham. ABC animal sanctuary. Charity walk on hot coals. Maria -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141109-130534001
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A woman has decided to take charity fundraising to a new level by throwing in the ice bucket and swapping it for hot coals.

In support of West Chiltington-based charity ABC Animal Sanctuary - that now runs solely on donations - Maria Choules along with 30 plus women will be treading hot coals to raise much needed funds.

Following the death of charity founder and actress Alexandra Bastedo, the charity is crying out for support to continue its crucial work, caring for abandoned animals.

“I feel a little apprehensive,” says Maria, 53.

The challenge will be taking place tomorrow (Friday September 19), 7pm, at Pulborough RFC Rugby Club in Pulborough Road. Maria will be travelling from her home town of Maidenhead in Berkshire.

“We’re going to go down there a couple of hours early and it will be run by specialists who will psych us up.

“I don’t really know anything about doing it to be honest, I just thought it would be a good idea to get sponsorships,” she said.

Also from Maidenhead, Jacqueline Watt, 71, will be helping her friend Maria to raise the funds.

Jacqueline said: “We got to know Alexandra and we’ve been going up and down to the charity - since she died they’ve really needed the money.”

Maria added: “It’s a very worthwhile cause and it’s funded just by volunteers. Alexandre was an amazing actress and very inspirational - she put her career on hold to look after the animals.”

Star of ITV’s ‘The Champions’ and founder of the sanctuary, the 67-year-old West Chiltington resident lost her battle to cancer in January this year, where many celebrities paid tribute to their friend.

Sue Jameson, Virginia McKenna and Jenny Seagrove have all sponsored Maria for the hot coals challenge.

“I’ve raised over £500 so far,” said Maria.

“I’ve gone passed my target. It’s fantastic, people have been very generous with lots of supportive messages.”

Pictures of Maria’s fiery challenge will feature in next week’s County Times.

To make a donation, visit www.bmycharity.com/mariachoules