When 94-year-old Ann found out that local Brentwood Charity SNAP (Special Needs and Parents) was taking part in the 2.6 challenge whereby individuals complete a fun activity of their choice set around the numbers 2.6 or 26 (in honour of the 40th anniversary of the London Marathon), she was inspired to combine a hobby of a lifetime with fundraising for a cause which is close to both her heart and to her family, and so set herself the challenge to complete 26 crossword puzzles in 26 days.

Since moving in to Brentwood Care Centre almost two and a half years ago, Ann has enjoyed keeping up with her lifetime love of crosswords – she particularly likes the one from the Daily Mirror. Poor eyesight, hearing and dexterity difficulties haven’t stopped Ann from enjoying her regular crosswords as she has simply enlisted her daughters, Maggie and Kate, in reading out the clues for Ann to then provide the answers during their visits.

Since the Covid-19 lockdown began, Activity Co-ordinators Alison and Michelle at the home in Pilgrims Hatch have helped Ann continue her crossword conundrums with her daughters through numerous phone calls and FaceTime chats, and so when Maggie told Ann in April that SNAP would be participating in the 2.6 challenge, she was keen to give back by getting involved too – it wouldn’t be the first time she’s helped raise funds for SNAP either having donated all of her 90th birthday money to the local charity.

Ann’s daughter Maggie shared the inspiration for Ann’s fundraising efforts, “SNAP have been a great support to our family over the years and have helped us with our son who has autism, offering music therapy, counselling and advice. I told my mum that SNAP were doing a 2.6 challenge back in April so we came up with the idea of doing 26 crosswords which have been very challenging when my mum is not hearing the clues correctly, but also very amusing!

My mum wanted to help raise funds for SNAP by doing 26 crosswords over the telephone with myself and my sister Kate. It has definitely been a challenge as my mum is hard of hearing!! However, my mum is a Crossword Queen!!”

As a ‘Crossword Queen’, Ann completed the 2.6 challenge in no time at all with the help of her daughters and raised an incredible £226. Ann was very happy to have been able to help the charity that has supported her Grandson and family. She was also delighted to receive a certificate from SNAP in recognition of the amount raised.

Ann’s daughter received a lovely email to thank the family for fundraising, from the charity’s Director of Family Services Karen Boath, “I’m pleased to confirm we received the very generous £226 raised by your incredible mum’s 2.6 challenge. Please pass on our sincerest thanks to Ann for choosing to get involved in the 2.6 challenge and raising this fantastic donation for SNAP. We hope she enjoyed completing all those puzzles, I can’t believe she managed to do 26 so fast.”

Touched by the support of its wonderful supporters like Ann and her family, the charity is delighted that the grand total of funds raised so far throughout the challenge is over £15,000! Brentwood Care Centre, where Ann is a resident, was also impressed by Ann’s dedication and efforts, and the Residential Dementia care home agreed to match the amount raised by Ann so will be donating an additional £226 in recognition of Ann’s contributions to such a worthy cause.