PRISONERS at a Dorset jail – serving time for crimes including ‘being a fair-weather football fan’ – had to raise money for charity in order to be released.
Six ‘convicts’ were sent behind bars at the Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum, in Dorchester, as part of a fundraiser for Weldmar Hospicecare and the museum.
The day-long Jail and Bail fundraiser started with six participants, from county companies, being sentenced for their crimes.
As part of their sentence, a judge told them they had to raise £999 for the charities before being released.
Fiona Hansford, Weldmar’s business development fundraiser, said: “What a brilliant day, and a fantastic amount of money raised for Weldmar Hospicecare, which will all go towards specialist care for adults in Dorset who have a life limiting illness, and support for their loved ones.
“A special thank you to Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum for hosting the event for us so well, complete with a judge and sentencing as well as use of the cells.
“Of course, a massive thank you to all of the participants and their employers, who really got behind it and helped make it such a resounding success.”
At the end of the day, the prisoners were released after raising £9,200 between them.
Carl McClements, found guilty of being a ‘fair-weather football fan’, representing Phoenix Care Ltd, said: “It ended up being a team effort, with everyone backing each other and helping them raise as much money as possible.
“A big shout out to the judge, who played the part really well. I was gobsmacked with the amount of money we raised, I did not expect that at all. Weldmar is close to our hearts in our family, so it was unbelievable.”
Bethany Weaver, from RiskSTOP Group, was charged with ‘First Degree Bubbly Behaviour’, and said: “It was absolutely fantastic. I went into it feeling rather nervous, but at the end of the day, having raised so much money to help, I’m so glad I did it.”
‘Grant Theft Candy’ was on the charge sheet of Danielle Holder, of Gungho Marketing, who said: “It was incredible, and lots of fun, especially working with people from a number of other local companies.
“When we found out that at 4pm we had collectively raised more than £8,000, and the amount of care that would pay for, it touched my heart more than before because I know what Weldmar had done for my mum when she needed it most, so it was incredible.”
Elsewhere Scott Emery, from Dream Cottages, was charged with ‘Aggravated Colleague Ignoring’, and said: “The whole experience was brilliant, and it was all for Weldmar which is such a great charity that we all need to support so that it can continue to be there for the local community. If was a really good buzz.”
Weldmar also had their own ‘convict’, in the shape of director of retail Gavin Anderson-Terry, who was jailed for the day for ‘Crimes Against Fashion’.
“Being here, in the historic courtroom, and then down in the cells, was amazing, having never been here before,” he said.
“The camaraderie with the rest of the guys taking part was fantastic, egging each other on and pushing each other to raise the money for Weldmar.”
Money was also raised for Shire Hall’s own Memory Café – a monthly drop in facility for people with memory difficulties, and their carers and family members – by David Upshall, from David Upshall Insurance Services, who is a Trustee.
“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “Everyone worked so well together, and what a wonderful amount of money we’ve raised for two really good causes.
“The Memory Café is something that is very much needed in Dorchester, not only for the people who have Alzheimer’s, but the people who look after them. I think it it’s so important that they have somewhere to go where they can meet and talk.”
David raised more than £1,000 after being sentenced to a day in the cells for ‘Reckless Withholding of Treats’ in the office.