WELLS SOUP reached a record and a milestone on Saturday January 11th.

The fundraising lunch attracted 120 people to the Connect Centre, the biggest audience in its history, and has now benefitted more than 60 good causes.

Four presenters told the audience what work they do and why they need money.

First was Dianne Ramsay of Ageing Well, which offers activities and services for older people. For example tai chi classes in Wells, which are good for strength and balance, and toenail cutting for those with mobility problems. They are also planning a service to prevent falls as this can lead to frail elderly people becoming isolated and lonely.

Second was cancer counselling charity We Hear You whose Ruth Knagg said: “Most of you have been affected by it and we will listen to anybody at any time during their cancer journey.” You did not have to go through your GP to get their service which was free for 16 months. They provided a safe space where people can say the unsayable and ask the unanswerable.

Then the Dean of Wells, John Davies, explained how the 800 Friends of Wells Cathedral raised the money for new gas boilers, saying heating the landmark building costs a fortune and they have raised half the money to replace its sound system. He said his was perhaps not the strongest pitch but Wells would be a poorer place if there was no cathedral.

Finally Peter Hopgood from Somerset Prostate Support Association told how they have tested 600 men for prostate cancer, saved 30 from death and give support for men living with this feared condition. “Women are much more used to talking about ‘their bits’ and often pick up an information leaflet about this disease rather than their husband or partner,” he said.

Then the audience gave most votes to We Hear You who went away with the £400 cheque. The other three good causes each received £150.

But the afternoon began with Morven Jamieson and Orlando Borodale from the Blue School Plastic Free and Eco Group explaining how they are spending the £350 they received at the previous SOUP. They will hold an Eco Conference for 70 students from primary and secondary schools as well as reduce carbon use at school.

“Wells Independents are incredibly proud that more than 60 worthy causes have now spread their word and received much needed funding from SOUP,” said Ross Young of Wells Independents who organise the event.

“We are also grateful to Wells estate agents Greenslade Taylor Hunt for their £350 match-funding of the January SOUP.”

The next Wells SOUPs will be on April 4, July 11 and October 3 at the Connect Centre.