Wiltshire Publications

Metal detectorists dig deep to raise £100,000 for hospital charities

Metal detectorists dig deep to raise £100,000 for hospital charities Total donations nearing £400,000 since the Rodney Cook Memorial Rally launched in 2018

A WESTBURY man is on target to raise a whopping £100,000 for charity following the success of his recent charity metal detecting weekend event. This brings the total raised close to £400,000 since the event first started in 2018.

Gary Cook set up the Rodney Cook Memorial (RCM) Rally in memory of his father who died at the Royal United Hospital Bath (RUH) after having cancer in 2017 and he has been raising money for cancer services at the RUH and the Brighter Futures charity at the Great Western Hospital ever since.

This year’s event proved to be as popular as ever as over 1,500 people from around the world came to a field near Hungerford earlier in the month to see what historical finds they could uncover and to raise money for good causes. The RCM Rally has quickly become world renowned since it first started in 2018 and has been described as the ‘Glastonbury of metal detecting events’ due to how quickly the tickets sell out each year.

An official figure has not been counted as of yet as a full total will be taken following two more smaller events, but Gary says that this year’s RCM Rally is on target to raise close to £100,000.

Great achievement

“This year’s event was a lot bigger than last year – and that raised £85,000,” said Gary. “We sold around 1,000 weekend tickets at this year’s event and we had about 300 people buy tickets each day on the Saturday and Sunday. We have two more events yet to come and we will get an official figure once these have been completed, but we have definitely raised more than last year’s event and it looks like we won’t be that far off the £100,000 mark, which would be a great achievement.

“This year we had detectorists come from all over the place and we had traders from America, Australia, Turkey and France all come to our event to demonstrate their equipment and support the cause. We had people attend from Canada, Australia, France and the Netherlands – it’s become world renowned now and it’s a bit like the Glastonbury of metal detecting events due to just how quickly the tickets sell each year!”

This would bring the total raised for charity since 2018 close to £400,000. Gary says that the popularity of the event means that his father’s name gets to live on, as well as raising vital funds for the two charities.

So proud

“I think my dad would be embarrassed with how much attention his name gets now,” Gary joked. “We get a fair few YouTubers and influencers come to the event and I watch the videos back afterwards and it really pulls on my heartstrings to hear them say, ‘We absolutely love the Rodney Cook’ as it’s my dad’s name that lives on and is being used all over the world by metal detectorists. It makes me so proud to hear his name being used for such positive things.

“The RUH has also said a consultation room in the new cancer centre will be named after my dad thanks to the money we have raised, which is an amazing thing. My goal when I first started was to raise £1million and I won’t stop until we reach that target. This event has turned something so awful into something really positive and I’m so thankful to all the volunteers and everyone who comes to all the events.”

Comedy night with The Chase celebrity

“Everyone is welcome at the RCM, no matter what equipment you have or if you’re a complete amateur, we like to make this as inclusive as possible. This year we had a comedy night that featured Paul Sinha from the TV show The Chase who was hilarious with his stand-up comedy and was well received by everyone and I really appreciate his time.

“We also had some live bands as well as a visit from a Roman reenactment group, the Ermine Street Guard, who became Roman soldiers for the weekend as the event was only a stone’s throw from Ermine Street which was one of the major Roman roads built some 2,000 years ago.”

Appeal for landowners

If any landowners or farmers would be interested in hosting the RCM rally, whether they have an interest in history or want to help raise money for charity, you can get in contact with Gary by emailing charitydetectingevent@hotmail.com or visit the website at www.rodneycookmemorial.co.uk