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

team at finishSummer 2019 and Muscles volunteers in the Pacific Northwest responded to a request from two senior citizens to help organize an estate sale on their behalf. The ‘set-up’ team began the process, but 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.

MFC 2015 Judy and the Fabric sale team

Jim in his garden_72dpi

Three years later 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.

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 tream photo 2

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, Bellevue) 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.

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.

tree removers
Barry cleans gutters

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

driveway-during 2

Garden shrubbery, plants and foliage were primarily handled by Tricia, Amy, Joie, Glenna, Suzanne, Bish and (UK Muscles members) Katie and Racheal (below).

Rachael and Katie

64402723_10211035188513925_2283227377880268800_nMarsha was delighted with the result of the teams efforts and surprised by the introduction of Adam (the British BBQ specialist) and the joy of seeing the changes in garden and on the roof.  Appreciation from the team 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.


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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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.


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


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.



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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The mid-week team do battle with barnacles

On a pleasant morning, the midweek team visited the beach at Ramsholt, Suffolk where retired skipper Richard Clarke enlisted muscles assistance to scrub and anti foul the hull of his boat ‘Will Laude’ and dory used as a tender.

The hamlet of Ramsholt sits alongside the river Deben and the task involved initially scrubbing both boats as the tide ebbed to reveal the undersides.


Working within the shadow of the Ramsholt Arms Pub provided an agreeable lunchtime retreat to allow the boats to dry out and a number of ‘true’ stories to be shared amongst the friends.


The afternoon saw an application of antifoul paint to the vessels to finish a good days work that shall result in a donation to the Aldeburgh lifeboat.


The team of Nick, Adam, Ed, Richard, Alan, Clive, and Kev appear within the photos with old friend Colin Booker and skipper Richard Clarke.

Muscles project number – 414
Overall total of voluntary hours – 15,632

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A Great Turnout – Patio Laying in Martlesham

DSC02805A team of 13 volunteers descended on a Martlesham garden, despite drizzly weather, to lay a patio.


After assessing the job, the team donned the usual safety equipment and divided into groups to prepare the area and materials.

Sub-teams were created were formed to split the tasks of preparation of the ground, layout design & cutting of paving slabs, mixing cement (in Lady Sarah), and pointing/ shingle dressing to finish.



A very dusty Adam

This job was in benefit of Ipswich Hospital Baby Bereavement Group.


Following completion of the patio job, a small team went for a quick mate’s job of some moderate tree surgery in Bernie’s garden.


Muscles project number – 412                                                                                                        Total voluntary hours – 15,582



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Muscles for Charity’s Auction Lot

Thanks for visiting the Muscles for Charity website. For more information on our charity auction lots, please watch the video below.

Muscles for Charity will offer the winning bidder the opportunity to complete a project for them. For example -constructing a fence or shed, making over a garden, laying paving slabs, clearing out a garage – the team will leave you with a smile on your face.

Please feel free to browse this website for examples of previous jobs for inspiration and ideas on what we could achieve in your garden, house or shed. If you have any queries about the suitability of the job you have in mind please email in to

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MFC turn to bank job in support of good cause.

At short notice, the call went out to assemble a 5-man team of shady characters.


The team got a tip-off that an Ipswich branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland was closing down the following Monday, giving them a one-day window to get their hands on a self-contained interview pod for our friends at Inspire Suffolk.


The interview pod was disassembled and loaded into the getaway vehicle –  Inspire provided their minibus to transport the goods from the bank, back to their headquarters


Once clear of the bank, the team reassembled the pod at Inspire HQ, which has since been very useful to Inspire by making better use of their office facilities.

An example of Inspire Suffolk’s great work can be found through the video here:

Muscles project number – 410                                                                                                        Total voluntary hours – 15,520

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Festive greetings as Muscles for Charity enters its 21st year.

Merry Christmas

This festive season marks the conclusion of the twentieth year of Muscles for Charity activity, and the beginning of the twenty first.  During that time our award winning, volunteer activity has topped 15,500 hours, (spread across ten different countries), and generated funding and awareness for 130 registered charities or non profits.

Underpinning everything is an outstanding ability to combine (international) friendship, hard work and fun as we assist people and organisations without handling any money.

Thank you for your contribution to the overall success.

During 2018 that success was reflected when Belgian team leader Johan Rens, and his wife Else, were invited by the Prior of Tongerlo Abbey to join them on 6th June to celebrate the feast of St Norbertus and the anniversary of its founding in 1128.

Abbey at Tongerlo

Johan describes the event, “What a special day it was! After a service, in Latin, we followed Brother Gabriel and the brotherhood to their private dining room. Try to imagine the most beautiful painted room, a long festive table on which was served a five course meal with wine and liquors. In the best possible atmosphere.  After that the Prior personally thanked Muscles for Charity for all the hard work, commitment, the difference they made, and the friendship”

As we celebrate and step into another New Year, it is a pleasure to acknowledge the contribution of the sons and daughters of volunteers and look forward to the continuing success of Muscles for Charity.


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