WHEN a young Tracey Fowler turned her garage into a haunted house to raise money for charity, she was beginning a fundraising effort that would become a way of life. Now after more than four decades of raising money to help others - including community organisations and schools - Tracey has published her first book, giving tips and advice to other fundraisers. As a youngster and living in Thirlmere Road , Patchway, Tracey and her friends used to spend their summer holidays turning their garages and gardens into different things to raise money for charities. Tracey said: "I have been fundraising since I was six and we used to have a great time turning the garage and garden into different things and collecting for charity. "I also used to do every Blue Peter appeal including organising jumble and cake sales. "When we moved to Portishead my parents really got involved in community life. "Our family had always had an interest in community fundraising and wanted to do things to help the town where we lived." Tracey, now 51, married Derrick in 1981 when she was 19. The couple managed bands and put on live music events to raise money for local good causes, organising gigs at the Louisiana in Bristol and Somerset Hall and Clarence House in Portishead. They even set up a Rolling Stones fan club in the 1990s, taking people to gigs across the UK and Europe . As an adult Tracey's support of Portishead Youth Centre continued where she became a member of the management committee and later chairman. She helped set up the successful music project at the centre, including the recording studio, which now sees a radio station broadcast from the premises each year. "I didn't think we could have kids," said Tracey, "because of that I wanted to get involved with the youth centre to help children and young people." The pair were left shocked - and delighted - when Tracey fell pregnant with son Jagger, now 14, in 1989 who was followed by Skye , now 11. Tracey, who used to run job clubs and work as an employment councillor, said: "When I had the children I started to realise the importance of Parent Teacher Associations (PTA's) in raising funds to improve school life for the children. The fantastic thing about organisations like this is they raise money for items for the kids which the school itself often can't afford." Tracey soon became an integral part of St Peter's School's PTA, spending the last 10 years on the committee - six as chairman. During her time on the committee, she helped to organise a number of events from school fairs to race nights and pamper evenings. With Tracey's help St Peter's PTA has raised tens of thousands of pounds for the school over the years which has been spent on items including a baby grand piano and equipment for the playground and iPads. "As a PTA we used to raise between six and Pounds 12,000 a year from events, all that went to benefit the school," added Tracey. "But it couldn't have been achieved without a fabulous team of people." Tracey had wanted to write the book for many years, but with two children and a busy schedule including producing the Portishead Town Guide, helping organise entertainment for the Victorian evening and putting together the programme for the carnival, she never had enough time. This year she decided to put pen to paper and publish her book - Successful Fundraising for Schools. Tracey said: "I was always getting people ringing me up asking me how to organise events to raise money. "Often people don't know the ins and outs of putting an event on and as PTA committees come and go, useful information often isn't passed on. "The book essentially details very simply how to organise events and fundraise." The book is also a parting gift to St Peter's PTA which will receive a donation from every copy sold. The book will also be accompanied by a website in the coming weeks which will feature all the forms, posters and ideas on publicity needed - all which can be downloaded - for an event. It also gives tips on how to motivate people and recruit volunteers to help out. Tracey plans to market the book, which is available on Amazon for Pounds 7.99, to all 2,500 primary schools across the UK . Tracey added: "Over the years I have had vast amounts of experience in organising events and fundraising - but it was all stored in my head. "I hope this book will help other schools and organisations find it easier to raise vital funds - and have some fun at the same time." ? ST PETER'S School even broke a world record after the PTA organised the biggest ever tombola - collecting 4,400 prizes from individuals, WORLD RECORD businesses and celebrities right across the UK . Tracey said: "It took months to collect in all the prizes and we wrote to just about everyone. " Gordon Brown , who was chancellor of the exchequer at the time, even gave us one of his pens. "The previous world record for the biggest tombola had 4,100 prizes and we managed to get 4,400. "It was incredible. We had to extend the time of the school fair and there were hundreds of people queuing outside, wanting to take part and buy a ticket." ? Tracey Fowler with her fundraising advice book Photograph: Jon Kent BRJK20140106C-006_C Tracey Fowler " I have been fundraising since I was six and we used to have a great time turning the garage and garden into different things and collecting for charity. "
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