Make-A-Wish seeks ‘prisoners’ for city fundraiser

Carolyn Thornton

Carolyn Thornton

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IT would surely be the last thing for which most people would volunteer.

But a group of fundraisers have agreed to be “arrested” and locked up with fellow “inmates” for the day in a bid to raise a six-figure sum to help grant the wishes of children and young people with life-threatening illnesses.

Jail Break has been organised by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which hopes to raise £20,000 from the fundraiser.

Six people from businesses across Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife have already agreed to be “arrested” at their workplace and become “prisoners” for the day, but the charity is keen to find at least another four volunteers.

It is understood that around four to six Lothian and Borders Police officers will “arrest” the volunteers, handcuffing them in the process.

They will then transport the individuals to “jail”, which will be a secret location in Edinburgh, where they will be locked up with food and water until they manage to raise the bail money required – £2000 each – to buy their freedom.

The “prisoners” will start fundraising prior to their “arrest”, with the charity encouraging them to set up a JustGiving page in advance.

Once inside the secret room, they can use their mobile phones and laptops to contact people in a bid to raise the remainder of the cash.

The charity’s fundraising manager in Scotland, Carolyn Thornton, who hopes to organise prisoner outfits for the participants, said: “Prisoners will know in advance that they are being arrested but it is entirely up to them whether or not they tell work colleagues.”

She added: “The prisoners are not kept in jail overnight.”

Jackie Imrie, owner of Edinburgh’s Harlequin Hair Studio, has agreed to take part – providing she can reschedule a couple of appointments.

Two employees from Standard Life at Baileyfield, three workers from BSkyB in Fife and Matin Khan, owner of Itihaas restaurant in Dalkeith, have also signed up.

Miss Imrie, 49, who lives in Rosewell, decided to take part after one of her client’s sons, who she knows as Joey, was granted his wish by the charity to be a pirate for the day. The five-year-old died recently from a brain tumour.

Schoolgirl Karys McNeill, who lives in Craigmillar, had 12 inches snipped off her long locks earlier this year.

The youngster donated her hair to the Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for children who have suffered hair loss as a result of cancer and alopecia, and also raised around £1200 for Make-A-Wish, which will go towards the bail money.

Mrs Thornton said: “Her mum works for Standard Life and two of her managers will be ‘arrested’.” It will be the first time that Make-A-Wish has organised a Jail Break in Edinburgh.

The “arrests” will take place between noon and 1pm on December 7, with prisoners having until 5pm to raise £2000 each. A police spokeswoman said: “Lothian and Borders Police are delighted to be involved in this fundraiser for what is a very worthy cause.”

If you would like to volunteer to be a “prisoner” for the day, e-mail {http:// Carolyn.Thornton@makeawish.org.uk|Carolyn.Thornton@makeawish.org.uk}