Cambridgeshire pair's puzzle passion raising £10K for charity

Lynn Pearl holding a puzzle
Lynn Pearl set up the puzzle lending library during the Coronavirus lockdown with 80 puzzles - and it has since ballooned to 3,000

A Cambridgeshire couple are close to raising £10,000 for a food bank through their puzzle lending library.

Lynn Pearl created Pearl's Puzzles with her husband Gideon in order to share their vast collection and raise money for the March and Ely food bank.

The library consists of about 3,000 mostly donated jigsaws that stretch from floor to ceiling in their garage and they charge £1 for each item.

Ms Pearl said the library's success was thanks to "people's generosity".

The puzzle-mad pair, from March, set up the library in 2020 during the Coronavirus lockdown with their collection of 80 jigsaws, which has since grown to thousands.

They charge £1 per item - and when people have finished their jigsaw, they hand it back and can swap it for something else.

While the puzzles can be viewed in person, Ms Pearl has also built up a community on social media where people can share the ones they have completed on Facebook - and ask for a new one to be delivered.

The pair deliver across the Fens, including to Chatteris, Walsoken and Whittlesey.

Ms Pearl said although they only charge £1, at times people have chosen to donate even more money or items that can be sold at the food bank.

Lynn Pearl and her husband Gideon
Lynn Pearl and her husband Gideon enjoy doing puzzles together

Ms Pearl said: "Both Gideon [husband] and I love puzzles and we still do loads of puzzles. I think we've probably got 100 at the moment that we are working our way through."

Some of their jigsaws have thousands of pieces and others have pieces that are large in size, which Ms Pearl said was good for people with dementia.

Ms Pearl said: "We recognise times are hard for some people and the food bank does such a wonderful job of putting food bags together every week.

"They ring-fence it to the Fenland areas and they use quite a lot of the money that we give them to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, to top up the tins and packets that they have."

So far the couple have managed to raise £9,300 - just £700 away from their target.

Ms Pearl said: "We aim to get to £10,000 by the end of the year. We will... and we will get there, we know we will."

Follow East of England news on Facebook, Instagram and X. Got a story? Email or WhatsApp 0800 169 1830