Borders charity champion Susan sets herself £250,000 fundraising target

Susan Forster, far right, with, from left, committee member Claire Mactaggart, Donna Mackie of Capability Scotland and fundraiser David Mactaggart.
Susan Forster, far right, with, from left, committee member Claire Mactaggart, Donna Mackie of Capability Scotland and fundraiser David Mactaggart.

A Denholm-raised charity champion aims to reach the £250,000 fundraising mark before she calls it a day.

Susan Forster ran a knitwear business across the Borders for many years, and in 1994 she launched Presents Galore to raise funds for good causes across the region.

She invites stall-holders from across the UK to an event staged at Springwood Park in Kelso every October, from which a percentage from all sales is split among nominated charities.

This year’s event bolstered the funds of three charities to the tune of £11,500, the beneficiaries being Capability Scotland, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Injured Jockeys’ Fund.

This week, Susan went along to the Capability Scotland shop in Hawick High Street with other members of the Presents Galore committee to hand over £4,500.

It was a particularly welcome gesture as the Hawick branch of the disability charity fell victim to a break-in in the summer.

Susan estimates that she and her supporters have helped raise £230,000 over the last 24 years.

Now she is planning to ease back from her fundraising efforts in the next two years, but she is hoping that Presents Galore will stay in the family and has asked her daughter, Nicola Brown, who lives near Bonchester Bridge, to take over the reins.

Susan, now living at St Boswells, said: “It’s something that will happen in the next couple of years when Nicola’s daughters, who are aged 14 and 17 now, are a little older.

“I’d like to reach quarter of a million before I finish.

“In all my 24 years, I’ve never met anyone as grateful as Donna Mackie at Capability Scotland in Hawick.

“We’ll leave it to them how they spend the money, although she did mention a child in Hawick who needs a wheelchair, so maybe some will go towards that.

“It’s been a very rewarding 24 years.

“In the September, you think ‘oh, I can’t go through that again’, but then you hand out the cheques and everyone is so grateful. It makes it worthwhile.”