Couple's puzzle library raises £2,000 for foodbank

Lynn Pearl and her husband Gideon are pictured with the puzzle library

Pearl's Puzzle Library and loaning service has raised £2,000 for Ely Foodbank and kept jigsaw-lovers of all ages busy throughout lockdown. Lynn Pearl and her husband Gideon are pictured. - Credit: LYNN PEARL

An Ely couple’s puzzle library and loaning service has raised £2,000 for the local foodbank while keeping jigsaw-lovers busy throughout lockdown. 

With technical help from their son Rob Hancock, Lynn Pearl and her husband Gideon launched the puzzle library service as a way of raising money for charities more than a year ago.  

She said: “We love doing Jigsaw puzzles and when lockdown started back in March 2020, we thought that we would offer our jigsaws to others who were unable to get out and about.  

“With charity shops closed for a while, this also made it hard to get good puzzles at a reasonable price. 

Lynn Pearl and her husband Gideon

Pearl's Puzzle Library and loaning service has raised £2,000 for Ely Foodbank and kept jigsaw-lovers of all ages busy throughout lockdown. Lynn Pearl and her husband Gideon are pictured. - Credit: LYNN PEARL

“We do not profit from our library and offer a collection, exchange and delivery service in the March and Chatteris area, free of charge,” she added. 

The group delivers in the March area on a Wednesday and the villages and Chatteris on a Thursday.  

They have also started to open up their garage to people who would like to choose their own puzzles on a Saturday morning. 

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All Covid-19 restrictions are observed and jigsaw puzzles are wiped and quarantined for 72 hours before re-loaning.   

“From small beginnings we now have over 40 regular borrowers and new people are joining our group every week,” Lynn said, adding that their youngest member is four-years-old and their oldest is in her 80s.  

“We cater for all ages, abilities and tastes; the important thing is to have fun.  

“It is a wonderful sense of achievement when you see the completed puzzle. We have almost over 900 jigsaws that are available to borrow.  

Pearl's Puzzle Library and loaning service has raised £2,000 for Ely Foodbank

Pearl's Puzzle Library and loaning service has raised £2,000 for Ely Foodbank and kept jigsaw-lovers of all ages busy throughout lockdown. Lynn Pearl and her husband Gideon are pictured. - Credit: LYNN PEARL

“The Jigsaw library has helped us reach out to local people to provide friendship both through regular visits and via the Facebook page.  We also post letters and do a little shopping too if this helps out.” 

As well as loaning jigsaws, some of the group’s borrowers knit and sew and they have raised money through the sale of children’s clothes and knitted toys that they have made and donated.   

The group also “recycles” books, DVDs, and craft materials where they can – with “one or two fetching a good price on eBay. 

They also accept donations of jigsaws that they check over and loan out.  

“Everyone can get involved and it is a good feeling knowing that you are helping someone else. 

After she heard about the puzzle library through Facebook, service user Leanne Searle initially signed up her nan and in-laws.  

"Later, I joined myself and have loved getting to know Lynn and her family.  

"They have been extremely kind and it's great that the foodbank has benefited so much too." 

With such a range of puzzle sizes and styles to suit any interest, Lynn added that it has been "a brilliant thing to be involved with". 

Anyone interested should contact me via the Facebook page – Pearl’s Puzzle Library, e mail – lynn50@sky.com or call 07853 256559. 

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