Last job of the decade – UK team returns to Sudborne

An overcast late November morning in the village of Sudborne (Suffolk) was soon brightened up by the visit of 11 volunteers led by Adam Osborne to set about a garden makeover.

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The recipient of the makeover was Kate Lacey, who in addition to wanting an autumnal tidy up, requested a brick plinth to be built to display a large ornamental pot.

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A base and carefully crafted brickwork soon took pride of place in the garden having been overseen by Muscles for Charity brickwork consultant Steve Kent, chief cutter Adam Osborne and ‘handy with spade’, Ian Bishop.

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Elsewhere in the garden hedges were re-shaped and managed, trees and shrubs cropped, pond cleared and trellis erected. The collection of leaves completed the skip load.

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The team were joined by new volunteers Nicola Greenfield and Peter Krolik who were welcomed and introduced to Kate’s amazing lemon drizzle cake over tea break and a sumptuous lunch.  (It’s not a prerequisite of all recipients of MFC jobs but it certainly keeps the team going)

 

The volunteer’s time converted into donations to The Woodbridge Solider’s Fund, to assist a young man raising money to join an expedition to Africa and two other good causes (update awaits).

Muscles project number – 434                                                                                                           Total voluntary hours – 16,439

 

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Driveway job benefits St Elizabeth’s Hospice (UK Team)

A mild and dry late October day in Ipswich saw 7 Muscle volunteers descend on the house of Elaine’s daughter, Charlotte’s house to dig out a driveway in preparation for block paving.

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Also assisting were Charlotte’s boyfriend Ricky and friends Debra and June.
As a Muscles supporter, Charlotte is aware of the hard work ethic and good-humored antics of the team.

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Some 4 hours and several tons of earth moving and concrete breaking later and the driveway was transformed, fuelled by bacon rolls and muffins!

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As a result of the sweat expended by all involved the St Elizabeth’s Hospice will benefit from a donation.

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Muscles Project –  422                                                                                                                    Total Muscles voluntary hours – 16,401

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‘Talented Twelve’ Muscles volunteers deliver a new patio and pathway as part of a Martlesham Heath project.

A dozen Muscles for Charity volunteers contributed fifty hours of work in Phil and Dianne Squirrel’s rear garden area on a cloudy Saturday morning.

Phile patio team taken by Frankie

The main project involved transforming the patio leading to the garden shed and provided Steve with the opportunity to demonstrate his craftsmanship – with a little   help from his friends !

phils-job-patio-before.jpgPhils patio shed after transformtion

Phils patio Adam Ian Bernie and StevePhils patio Ed and Bernie saw

Other members of the team were equally busy extending a pathway, pruning and clearing an overgrown area of land at the rear of the garden.

Phils patio group work garden and patio

Phils patio Alan and path extensionPhils patio kev and the mixer

Phils patio Frankie

Thanks to Frances for taking the team photo and to Phil and Dianne for their donation to Ipswich Hospital Baby Bereavement Group.

 

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Dog Pen and Gardening job benefits Woodbridge Mayor’s charities (UK Team)

A team of 12 volunteers gathered in Parham, rural Suffolk, England, on the last day of August to complete a job which was organised following a successful bid for Muscles’ services at the Woodbridge Mayor’s Charity Ball earlier this year.

 

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(Steve Kent absent from photo)

 

Andrew (the successful bidder) pledged a significant amount to the Mayor’s Charity, which this year benefits both The Woodbridge Soldiers’ Fund and Woodbridge Rotary Club.

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When initially organised, the job involved the construction of a fence line at the back of the property to close in a dog pen, with the potential for other general gardening work time permitting.

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The skip was full even after some ‘on top’ management.

 

 

Some words from Andrew:
“I was recently fortunate to attend a charity ball in which I successfully won a bid for a day of work from MFC.

At first I was unsure what to expect from the team at MFC, however, Nick Bentley the lead for my job swiftly contacted me to visit my home and talk me through their capabilities and discuss my requirements.

D-Day – The team at MFC arrived early on a bright and sunny Saturday, what was supposed to be a team of 9 turned into 12. They swiftly got to work. My expectation was that they would complete the dog pen by the close of the day. To my surprise, not only did they deliver a high-quality finishing product but they also managed to complete these additional tasks:

1. Rip out cricket nets
2. Cut down rotten trees.
3. Trim all hedgerows.
4. Tidy trees and bushes.
5. Cut Grass.
6. General Tidy of full garden (1.5 acres)

The work carried out by MFC can only be described as exceptional. Each member of the team was polite and had their own stories of their commitment to MFC and the great work they do.

Thank you all at MFC once again. Keep up the great work.”

 

Muscles Project –  421                                                                                                                     Total Muscles voluntary hours – 16,323

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Muscles (USA) volunteers tackle a ‘one-off’ project to assist Bellevue,WA octogenarians.

Summer 2019 and Muscles volunteers in the Pacific Northwest responded to a request from two senior citizens to organize an estate sale on their behalf. The story behind the headline is detailed below.

In the Spring of 2016, Judy Barlup, octogenarian and Sewing Queen from Bellevue, WA, USA decided to sell her unique collection of quilts, sewing fabric, kimono’s, books, equipment and more and invited Muscles for Charity volunteers (several featured in the photograph below) to assist during a two day ‘Gone out of Business’ sale that involved months of planning and preparation.

2016 Fabric sale photo

2019 Jim Barlups plants for Bloedel - features Jim

In 2019 Judy, and her husband Jim, (above) decided to downsize and move from their beautiful Bellevue home (after 41 years) to residential accommodation and again invited the Muscles team to work with them to plan, organize and manage an Estate Sale on their behalf.

A considerable amount of preparatory work was required ahead of the main two-day sale starting August 3rd 2019.

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The team welcomed new member Kailey Ayres and, as usual, Muscles volunteers worked hard, with integrity, humour, generosity, understanding and team spirit to help make this most challenging transition a bit less stressful for Jim and Judy.

Here’s Judy’s response to the Muscles team, “Amazing!! The muscles crew did the impossible! I can believe how little is left.
It must have been a good combination of organization, management, salesmanship,
enthusiasm etc., etc.      Whatever it took, you got it!”

2019 Barlup sale team photo 1

Special appreciation to everyone involved in a project benefiting two senior citizens at a difficult time in their lives.  This unique challenge resulted in the team donating more than 420 voluntary work hours.

Jim and Judy’s generous donation to their chosen charity, YES (Youth Eastside Services) has been added to the overall list of US and Canadian charities.

Muscles Project –  420                                                                                                                     Total Muscles voluntary hours – 16,225

 

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Kesgrave residents assisted by five Muscles friends, although double that number volunteered to assist !

MFC Kesgrave - Al Camerona team (2)
The Muscles team members who assisted at Al and Des Cameron’s home in Kesgrave on  Saturday 13th July quickly completed the project.
Photograph by the fifth team member – Phil.
The job was simply to repaint the masonry at the front of the bungalow and, as the threatened drizzle held off, two coats were applied quite swiftly.
While the main crew of Elaine, Richard and Bernie completed the painting, Kev and Phil dismantled old shelving in the garage and replaced it with a new-metal-freestanding item.
The charity benefiting from Al and Des’s contribution is the East Anglian Childrens’ Hospice (EACH).
Incidentally, Bernie’s choice of transport to the job was supposed to remain secret !
MFC Kesgrave Flying Bernie (2)
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Local and international Muscles volunteers tackle garden and trees project in Maple Valley, WA

When Maple Valley, WA resident Marsha reached out to Suzanne and Barry regarding tree felling and assistance with shrubbery, blocked roof drainage and general garden work surrounding her private, wooded two acre garden she had no idea that the result would include international team members and an English BBQ specialist.

MFC Marsha - Group shot with Glenna GOOD

Temperatures in Maple Valley reached 76 degrees on Saturday 15th June as the team tackled felling a number of trees, courtesy of the chain saw specialists Steve, Frank, and  Adam.

Barry volunteered to unblocked the roof drains and gutters, and provided the aerial photographs featured below.

Garden shrubbery, plants and foliage were primarily handled by Tricia, Amy, Katie, Racheal, Joie, Glenna, Suzanne and Bish.

More photographs can be enjoyed by visiting the USA 2019 web page at https://musclesforcharity.wordpress.com/usa/usa-2019/

Marsha was delighted with the result of the teams efforts and surprised by the introduction of the British BBQ specialist – who obviously enjoyed himself too!

MFC Marsha BBQ specialist

Great job everyone and thanks to Marsha for the refreshments, BBQ food, and donation to the Domestic Violence Program of YMCA.

Muscles Project – 418                                                                                                                            Total voluntary hours – 15,842

 

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Muscles team, supplemented by local friends, return to Tongerlo Abbey and help with garden maintenance.

In what has established itself as a Muscles for Charity tradition, on Saturday 18th May a combined team of UK & Belgian volunteers made the journey over to Tongerlo Abbey to help the abbey with garden maintenance.

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The team (led by Captain Johan) worked in the Da Vinci Garden, tidying and weeding.
In words by brother Kris:
“Weeds were removed, paths tidied, lawns lined, ivy pruned … They went hard against it and not as hairdressers but as ‘garden hairdressers’ – they redesigned part of our garden.”


The team was rewarded by an impressive lunch buffet and some of the abbey’s infamous beer.


The Brits were once again kindly hosted by the Rens in their family cabin, who made sure their guests were always well fed.

The team playing a game of Kubbs (we won’t talk about the results)
A job of Fun, Sweat and Beer – here’s to many more international jobs in the future.

Muscles project – 417                                                                                                              Overall voluntary hours – 15,772

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Proud Muscles team members continue tradition by taking part in 2019 ‘Blooms Day’ in Spokane, WA

2019 Bloomsday Spokane

Skaufel clan after Blooms Day without Becky

Spokane, Washington is the 105th largest city in the United States, (population of 217,000) and annually attracts over 50,000 people who run (or walk) a 12 kilometre (7.64 mile) course benefiting a local charity, on the first Sunday in May, known locally as ‘Bloomsday’.

Supporting the 2019 ‘Bloomsday’ event were a number of US Muscles for Charity team members, including three generations of the local ‘Skaufel family’.

Continuing a tradition started decades ago led by Neal and supported by daughters Jenny and Becky and their children, Kaya, Sophie and Kayden.
Also in the massive crowd, on a hot Sunday morning, were the Millikens, – Amy, Steve and David.

This year the chosen charity – ‘Second Harvest‘ specialize in helping someone in need in a local neighbourhood put nitrous food on their table.

Millikens Blooms Day

 

Muscles project number – 416                                                                                             Overall total of voluntary hours – 15,697

 

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Hail doesn’t stop MFC!

“It’s totally amazing, you’ve absolutely transformed it!”

10 volunteers from the UK team descended on a rural Campsea Ashe garden to transform a garden corner into a gated vegetable patch.

Despite some very fickle weather of hail, wind and sun, the team displayed the usual productive spirit.

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The team set about weeding & clearing the old patches, constructing an archway/ trellis & chicken wire fencing around the area.

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Work also completed included cutting back dead branches on an apple tree, construction of a ‘chicken door’ to allow poultry access to the patch, and consumption of delicious sausage/bacon rolls.

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The activity resulted in a donation to Secret World Wildlife Rescue Charity.

Since the first job, Adam returned alone to put together a new chicken house and patio for their inflatable hot tub.

 

Muscles project number – 415
Overall total of voluntary hours – 15,682

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