Mums camp out to raise charity cash
A GROUP of tough mums braved heavy rain and freezing temperatures to camp out in the city centre as part of a 24-hour charity challenge.
The seven pals labelled their task 'Mums on a Mission' as they spent last night living under a gazebo outside the Potteries Shopping Centre in Hanley.
They were raising cash for disadvantaged children at Swan Bank's Methodist Church in association with the Slumbank charity.
All money collected will be used to help fund special trips for the youngsters.
Foster carer Zoe Hyde, aged 35, said providing such opportunities is vital, even if it involved braving the elements.
She said: "With the rounds of Government cuts and the economy as it is, the first funding to go is anything earmarked for smaller charities like Slumbank.
"A lot of these kids have never been outside Stoke-on-Trent and that's very sad. We hope the money can help them. We were wet and cold throughout, but it was worth it."
The mothers' camp site was frequently visited by children as two of their number donned 'ZingZilla' mascot suits, based on the children's TV characters.
But the outfits' fluffy insulation could hardly save them from what proved to be a chilly night in North Staffordshire. Their challenge began at 8am yesterday and ended at the same time today.
However, Samantha Roden, a 25-year-old full-time mum, of Dale Avenue, Ball Green, was happy to do it.
She said: "Just seeing the kids' smiling faces made this all worthwhile."
Tracy Graham, aged 31, also of Dale Avenue, said her background as a care assistant helped her stay tough amid the unseasonably nippy weather.
She added: "Though the weather is awful, the satisfaction comes from knowing you are helping others.
"I've always enjoyed helping others. I just think it's in my nature to do things like this."
Others were taking part for more personal reasons.
Thirty seven-year-old Samantha Hopkin is a full-time carer for her four-year-old disabled son, Oliver.
She said: "I think that's given me some sort of empathy for other disadvantaged children.
"It's a pleasure to have done it and to help out.
"We've offered to help out everywhere and the response we've had has been massive. People want us to help out and we're happy to."
Natasha Stanyer, aged 30, of Hesketh Avenue, took part in order to give something back, having been in a similar position herself.
She said: "I'm a single parent of three children, and I've had help in the past from charities, so it felt right to give something back. It was good to see the kids face light up when they saw the ZingZillas."
Also taking part were 41-year-old Sharon Roden, of Lawton Street, and 26-year-old Laura Ford.