Page 1

What a difference a day makes

2012 issue 20

What's next

CEO Gill Edelman explains the next stage in Willow’s development

Bob’s cycling success The Bob Wilson Soccer Cycle produces the pounds

Back on track Read about Sarah’s special day PAGE 6

Special days for seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds The Willow Foundation is a charity registered with the Charity Commission in England and Wales, number 1106746 special days for seriously ill 16-40 year olds


Welcome to Willow Last year the Willow Foundation provided 1,400 special day experiences for seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds throughout the UK. Each and every day not only made a real and positive difference to these young lives but also touched the lives of families and friends. No other national charity provides this service. You can read more about who has benefited from these experiences and their impact in this issue of Willow News. In April Life President Bob Wilson took on the challenge of cycling over 500 miles to every Premier League football club in the UK raising over £320,000. Bob not only raised much needed funds but also valuable awareness of Willow’s work during what has been a tough year for all charities. Like many others, Willow has faced increasing demand for its services at a time when costs are rising and income is falling across the sector. In 2011, we undertook a strategic review of our services and activities to ensure that the charity is able to respond to these challenges and seize opportunities for growth and development – you can read more about what we found out on page 4.

What's inside 2 willow news 2012

Willow: new developments Pages 4-5

Special day stories Pages 6-7

Medical focus Pages 8-9

Our roots

The Willow Foundation was founded in 1999 by Bob and Megs Wilson as a lasting memorial to their daughter, Anna, who died of cancer at the age of 31. Anna battled her cancer for five years but it was during these years that she, her family and friends, experienced some of their most memorable moments together. Her self named ‘special days’ became a focus for quality of time and quality of life, providing a welcome distraction from the challenging realities of living with a serious and life-threatening illness and restoring some normality back into all their lives. Willow has aimed to replicate the emotional and psychological benefits of Anna’s ‘special days’ by providing similar positive and uplifting experiences for other seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds.

Fundraising from around the UK Pages 11-15


Introduction

special day impac t Mum of Chloe, a 32-year-old special day beneficiary, explains in her words the

of the family. impact on her daughter and the rest

Chloe enjoying her experience

Willow Having Chloe’s special day made possible by the Foundation gave us, as a family, a huge boost and g helped alleviate the traumatic experience of her goin through chemo for breast cancer.

The Willow n pertise Foundaitytwio ith 12 years ex

A national char ial day experiences to ec atening in providing sp us and life-thre rio se those with makes a unique illness. Willow e psychological and th contribution to 40 year olds l being of 16 to el w l na io ot em es. and their famili

cial day? beneficiaries What is a spyeai ms to provide Every special da k from the ones with a brea ment. At a and their loved at diagnosis and tre ity time with realities of their al qu ty, spending time of uncertain can help restore a sense ds family and frien confidence and create ost of normality, bo s for the future. ie or em m precious

ily Even though it was Chloe's special day, the fam day. experienced the benefits by being included in her time It helped maintain hope and lifted our spirits big to and gave us something optimistic and cheerful think about and Chloe to plan. to get The actual experience was so lovely, it allowed us e together and bond - in our case having a girlie tim us to which we hadn't had for a long time - enabling r as express our feelings and really support each othe and we were removed from our trying circumstances her ess could relax properly. Chloe was also able to expr gratitude to us which she felt was very important. upon, We now have wonderful memories to reflect back g which is a very healing process in itself when goin through and recovering from cancer. Thank you Christina, mum of Chloe 2012 willow news 3


Willow: the next stage As CEO Gill Edelman marks a year in post, she explains the ambitious plans for the next stage of Willow’s development. A major review of Willow was undertaken in 2011. What did you do and why?

We commissioned independent research and consulted with beneficiaries, their families, medical professionals, and other charities. We wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the needs of those living with serious illness, to measure Willow’s activities over the last 12 years, and to decide how best to develop the charity for the future.

What did you find out?

We know that the emotional and psychological challenges of living with a serious illness can feel overwhelming. Our research and consultation process provided additional insights into these challenges and the support needed to help cope with diagnosis, treatment and beyond. A number of common themes 4 willow news 2012

emerged: the importance of family and friends, of sharing experiences with others living with serious illness, and of having something positive to focus on. We also learnt more about the value of Willow’s special days, about the services offered by other charities, and the remaining gaps in information and support available.

What do you see as Willow’s role?

We believe that Willow has a unique role in supporting the psychological and emotional well being of seriously ill 16-40 year olds and their families through the provision of positive and life-enhancing special day experiences. Willow’s special days will always be our core activity, and in the

Willow has a unique role in supporting the psychological and emotional well being of seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds and their families


Next stage

longer term, we want to develop the charity and extend our support to many more families throughout their journey with serious and life-threatening illness.

Has the charity been affected by the economic climate?

We are pleased that Willow’s fundraising has held up well during the economic downturn and fortunate in that we have been able to draw on our reserves. However, like many other charities in this difficult financial environment, we need to be cautious about income whilst dealing with rising demand and increasing costs. We have therefore had to make difficult decisions about how we prioritise our activities. Since October we have decided to focus our special days on those beneficiaries in most urgent need and have revised our eligibility criteria and application process accordingly (you can read more about this on page 9).

How does Willow plan to support more 16-40 year olds with a serious and life-threatening illness?

Since 1999 Willow has fulfilled more than 8,000 life-enhancing special days. The positive impact of these days is not in question. However, with more than 17,000 16-40 year olds living with a serious and life-threatening condition, there is much more to be done. We need to ensure that the charity is on a strong financial footing for the future. We are therefore developing our fundraising activities and exploring ways of delivering our special days more cost effectively, in order that we can support many more 16-40 year olds with serious and

life-threatening illness and their families over the longer term.

What’s new for Willow in 2012?

We will continue to focus on providing high quality special days to our beneficiaries and their families, and during 2012 we will be seeking to develop our relationships with companies to

in the early stages of treatment for serious illness and their families to share a special day experience and to support each other. If this approach proves effective, we plan to increase this activity in future years. Over the course of 2012, we will be talking to health and social care professionals about how we can best work in partnership with them. We will be creating new ways in which our beneficiaries and their families can share their

We want to reach many more individuals living with serious and life-threatening illness, and provide a wider range of support to them secure more ‘gifts in kind’ to help create these experiences. This will help reduce our costs and enable us to provide many more special days in 2013 and beyond. In the spring, we will publish the results of research we commissioned in 2011 to evaluate the impact of special days. The early findings are extremely positive and show significant and sustained improvement in the emotional and psychological well being of our beneficiaries long after their special day. We will share these results with our beneficiaries, referrers, supporters and funders and will use this evidence to raise awareness and funds for Willow in 2012. We will also pilot new group special days. We hope that these group events will create opportunities for 16-40 year olds

experiences with us. We will also be developing our website so that we can share information and signpost beneficiaries and their families to other sources of support. And finally, we will be seizing opportunities to raise Willow’s profile and develop our fundraising activities to grow our income. Look out for Days to Remember, a new online fundraising initiative which we will be launching in the next few months. None of this would be possible without the commitment of Willow’s current supporters. On behalf of our Life Presidents and Trustees, thank you for all your support in 2011. We look forward to working with you in 2012 and to keeping you informed as we develop our plans for the future. 2012 willow news 5


Getting back on track Each Willow special day beneficiary is currently dealing with the difficult realities of a life-threatening illness. Most of our beneficiaries (more than 81% in 2011) have received a cancer diagnosis.

Sarah and partner Fergal

sarah Before my diagnosis aged 28 I was a very active person. My partner Fergal and I enjoy lots of outdoor activities and often went rock climbing and off-road driving. I was an Army Officer for six years, and was down at the gym three or four times a week. Fitness has always been a big part of my life. When I found the lump in my breast, I wasn’t particularly worried – with no family history, breast cancer doesn’t happen to people my age does it? From the minute the doctor told me I had cancer, everything was a whirlwind of appointments, decisions and uncertainty, but I had something to focus on, a disease to beat. I had an operation to remove the cancer, followed by an aggressive regime of chemo and four weeks of daily radiotherapy. My breast care nurse had put me forward to the Willow Foundation for a special day, and whilst I didn’t think too much about it at first, as my treatment went on I began to realise how good it would be to take the time

6 willow news 2012

“It was the first time since my diagnosis that I had felt like my old self again“ to do something fun for a change – there hadn’t been all that much fun in our lives over the previous few months! The trip really was so special for both of us. After months of worry and ghastly treatment it reminded us that there was so much more to us and to our lives than cancer. It was the first time since my diagnosis that I had felt normal, like my old self again. I was particularly grateful that the Willow Foundation doesn’t just focus on the person who is or has been unwell. The effect that serious illness has on a family and people around you is huge, and sometimes overlooked. The fact

that Willow set out to be inclusive and make sure that everyone is involved makes such a difference. While we were away I had a go at clay pigeon shooting, archery, off-road driving and finally quad biking. Now, it is hard to hide the fact you’ve been ill when you’ve got no hair, and everyone was ever so kind, but I think they couldn’t quite believe I’d want to be getting wet and dirty on a Quad bike! Much to Fergal’s amusement I even managed to fall off at one point. The lovely guy who was leading us was horrified to see me end up on the floor in a heap – he was so worried that I’d hurt myself, as I was rolling around on the ground creased up with laughter – I think he saw the funny side in the end! The day was rounded off with a walk in the grounds, the sun came out and it was just perfect. At the end of my treatment it felt like I would never come close to being the person I was before breast cancer but a year to the day since I had the operation I ran the Bupa Great Yorkshire 10Km and fundraised for Willow - a small thank you for an amazing day that made such a huge difference to both of us, and helped me get back on track towards normality.

ryan Before my brain tumour I had been living the carefree life of a student enjoying the independence of living away from home and studying at university. As soon as I was diagnosed everything in my life instantly changed. I endured two sessions of major surgery and the hard realities of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I desperately needed something to keep my spirits up. When my medical professional at the Christie Hospital, Manchester, told me about the Willow Foundation suddenly there was one good thing that changed for the better; I couldn’t believe this wonderful charity existed. It gave me something else to think about.


Special Day Case Studies Having something positive to look forward to kept me focused throughout treatment. I have always admired Graham Linehan's work and had been an aspiring writer for years. Despite my illness, when the charity called to say they had arranged for me to meet Graham I felt enthused and had a new lust for life and my writing. I met Graham during the filming of a Father Ted documentary. He was one of nicest guys you could ever meet. I took along some scripts of my own to show Graham and he couldn’t have been more supportive. Meeting Graham made me think about something else other than cancer. I feel more inspired to write now than ever before. My whole day was exactly what I needed at that time. When I look back at the year I had cancer I now have positive lasting memories of my day to focus on and this was one of the greatest experiences of my life so far.

“Having something positive to look forward to kept me focused throughout treatment“

Carol In 2010 I was a mum with an energetic two and a half year old, Cameron. Life pre-diagnosis was pretty hectic - we're a healthy family, enjoying lots of outdoor time - walking, bike riding, camping, days out and fresh air. I had been working as a freelance graphic designer on a part time basis, and enjoying being a mum. Life was great. That February I found an uneven lump in my chest. My GP referred me to Maidstone Hospital, where an ultrasound and mammogram revealed a tumour. I was absolutely devastated. I thought 'Why me?' - I live a healthy lifestyle - I didn't smoke, or drink heavily, kept out of the sun, exercised and ate healthily plus I had a little boy who needed his mummy. Due to my young age, I was recommended full aggressive treatment - surgery, chemo and radiotherapy. I underwent a lumpectomy in March and the tumour was successfully removed. I then started six cycles of chemotherapy during which I was very sick. My first session was a shock - it laid me up for a couple of days. I suffered a lot of side effects, both physically and emotionally. I was tired all the time and had little or no energy to play with Cam, which was very upsetting. I lost all my hair at this point, but we adapted, and even Cam got to choose which bandana Mummy wore some days. My partner, Colin, and our family were very supportive. They helped out with Cam, taking him out to give me space to rest and heal. I was sick after every cycle and after trying a concoction of anti-sickness drugs, I fought for the only suitable antisickness drug for my last cycle. Three weeks later, I underwent radiotherapy for three and a half weeks, which compared to the chemo, was relatively easy. I had no side effects and I could see a positive end to the therapy. During this time my breast care nurse suggested Willow could offer support. I wanted my special day to be about just Colin, Cam and me as a family and Willow arranged for us to spend a weekend away in Norfolk, at a place which held lots of happy

Carol with son Cameron

“Being away with my boys was a strengthening experience and was extremely therapeutic, emotionally and physically“ memories for us. We relaxed, enjoyed being together and had fun. I was between cycles three and four of my chemo and was tired and feeling weak, but being away with my boys was a strengthening experience and was extremely therapeutic, mentally, emotionally and physically. Our weekend together allowed me to have a breather between treatment cycles, time to reflect on what was going on and how we were dealing with it. It was a few days of quality relaxation and recuperation, which was very important in keeping me strong before going back to the real world of chemo treatment. I'm generally a positive person but I did experience days where I felt the world was on my shoulders and I dreaded the trip to the chemo suite. Having a good mental attitude kept me focused and my special day made all the difference during a very difficult time and was an important factor in my emotional battle with breast cancer and my recovery.

2012 willow news 7


Medical focus

More than 80% of people who apply to the Willow Foundation find out about the charity from a professional, such as a doctor or nurse involved in their care and treatment. The charity is therefore reliant on the expertise and support of healthcare professionals across the UK to promote and deliver its service.

ber The day we all rememtion in August 2010.

She was nda Natasha applied to the Willow Fou l prognosis for skin cancer. Her just 25 years old and had a termina l lication was urgent and her specia medical team advised that her app l cia spe nth. Natasha wanted her day should be organised within a mo of life with family and friends. day to be a ‘pink’ themed celebration cial day. Natasha died one week after her spe

Kathy Healthcare professional, Royal Free Hampstead

When someone has to cope with a life-threatening illness even simple activities become difficult and it is hard to describe the level of stress that families experience at times like this. It is hard to measure the impact this special support had on Natasha’s health, but I believe the goal of the party gave her the strength to keep going when she was close to the end of her life, despite struggling with the physical effects of her illness. She dug deep to make sure she was there on the night. Knowing about Natasha’s party was positive for members of the palliative care team too. It helped us to focus on keeping her well enough to enjoy it – even our consultant got to give an opinion on her outfit! Having witnessed the impact a special day has I will always approach Willow when appropriate in the future. 8 willow news 2012

Natasha’s party was positive for us too. It helped us to focus on keeping her well enough to enjoy it


Medical Perspective Pamela Natasha’s grandmother When she was first diagnosed, Natasha’s specialist mentioned the wonderful work of the Willow Foundation but it wasn’t until she was told her cancer was terminal that she looked into having a special day. Tasha decided she’d like an event to celebrate her life. She had such a wonderful sense of humour and I remember her saying, ‘Why should you have all the fun when I’m gone?’ She was so looking forward to her special day - she made all her own invitations, painted her own nails, did her own hair and make-up – I really don’t know where she got the energy, she was so brave and so positive. She really enjoyed the opportunity to have fun with all the people she loved and who loved her. I was so happy for her, it was exactly what she wanted. I really think she only lasted as long as she did because of the special day she had to look forward to. It's now over a year since Natasha died we feel very lucky to have the pictures to look back on and remember what a fantastic night we all had. We are so proud of her.

Sarah Jane Willow co-ordinator When I joined Willow in 2010 Natasha’s special day was the first I arranged. It was unforgettable for me, not only because she was such an amazing young woman but because her request was quite unusual. When I called to discuss what she would like to do, she was very clear that she wanted to organise an evening to celebrate her life with friends and family. As the event drew closer her family and our medical professionals were worried Natasha might not be well enough to enjoy her night, but she was absolutely determined to make it – and she did. I was extremely upset to hear Natasha had passed away so soon after her special day. Knowing that Willow had helped create such happiness for Natasha and lasting memories for her family will stay with me forever.

Who is eligible for a special day? Since October 2011 those applying for a special day experience need to meet one or more of the following criteria:  Be receiving treatment for recurrent cancer and/or metastatic disease  Be in palliative care  Have a terminal prognosis  Be in the advanced stages of a progressive degenerative condition including: ✺ muscle wasting diseases ✺ diseases of the nervous system ✺ auto-immune disorders ✺ neurological conditions ✺ chronic organ-specific conditions These revised eligibility criteria prioritise those beneficaries in most urgent need and were agreed in consultation with medical professionals. To ensure our special days have an immediate impact, applications are now valid for six months from the date of approval. This timescale will be extended on medical advice where a beneficary's health needs prevent them from taking their special day within this period. In order to provide a safe and efficient service a medical professional involved in the applicant's care and treatment is required to provide information about the medical condition and health needs of the applicant. All medical information provided is treated in the strictest confidence. NB. Special day experiences approved under the old criteria, prior to 1 October 2011, will go ahead in 2012 as planned. If you have any questions about the eligibility criteria for the charity’s special day service please contact our Senior Nurse Adviser on 01707 259 777. 2012 willow news 9


Special Day Case Studies

Time together For all, a special day will offer something positive to look forward to and to create precious memories for the future. For some this will be the last chance to fulfil a dream, for others, like Francesca, it is the chance to spend quality time with loved ones to restore a sense of normality to life.

Francesca and eight-strong support team

francesca I am 32 now, and have had breast cancer twice. I was 29 when I was first diagnosed. I was trying to remember what life was like before I had cancer and the very sad truth is that I can’t. It’s been two and half years of constant hospital appointments, highs and lows but some days I can still barely believe what’s happening to me. People often say to me “well you don’t look ill” and the truth is I don’t feel it a lot of the time so I’m lucky. But at some point, the day will come where that’s not the case any more. I’ve had to somehow reorganise my life so that cancer fits round me, not the other way round. I was told about the Willow Foundation by my breast cancer nurse after my first diagnosis. She gave me a leaflet and told me they organised life-enhancing experiences for young people who were seriously ill. That kind of thing wasn’t for people like me, it was just a blip and I was going to get better. So I am almost ashamed to admit that I binned the leaflet and forgot all about it. After my second diagnosis, and when I had been back on chemo for about three months, I remember feeling totally

“Other women of my age were out having the time of their lives, thriving in their careers, getting married, starting families“ 10 willow news 2012

despondent and fed up of fighting. I also felt embarrassed and ashamed, like I was some kind of freak – other women of my age were out having the time of their lives, thriving in their careers, getting ready to start families, getting married. For some reason I thought about Willow. Just for a little while, I wanted to feel normal again. I wasn’t really into limos, concerts, meeting celebs or swimming with dolphins; I didn’t want to do anything except spend some proper time with my friends, away from hospitals. My secondary diagnosis had been just as devastating to them as it was to me in lots of ways, and I really felt like I needed to reconnect with them. For a weekend, we didn’t do anything terribly exciting – went for walks, pub lunches and watched DVDs . Things I could have done at home. But to get all eight of us together on the same weekend, in a beautiful house where we could really spend some proper time together, was one of the highlights of my year. We laughed. A lot. And cried. A lot. That frosty weekend in January allowed us to put the foundations in to support each other and our friendships are stronger than ever. I didn’t feel sad, I didn’t feel like a freak, I felt like one of the girls again and came back with a renewed sense of fight that had partially left me. I’ve read a lot about Anna, Bob’s daughter and the inspiration for the Willow Foundation and I can identify so much with her. For a start, I’m the same age as her when she died. I also know that she faced her illness with dignity and courage, and she, along with many other people I have met over the last couple of years, has inspired me to try and do the same. I also know that Anna recognised it was the little things that can make a huge difference; having something to look forward really does lift your spirits and can mean the difference between “I can’t do this any more, it’s too hard” and “I can do this, and I’m going to fight”. The work the Willow Foundation does in providing special days for young people is more than just a day out doing something nice. It’s about allowing people to feel normal again when life can sometimes feel very abnormal.


Fundraising In 2012, Willow needs your help to make a positive difference to 16 to 40 year olds and their families living with a serious and life-threatening illness. On the following pages you will read stories about how you helped us raise the funds needed to fulfil 1,400 special day experiences in 2011.

Bob’s wheely inspiring Willow Life President and co-founder Bob Wilson took on the greatest challenge of his life last April as he marked his 70th birthday in a most unusual way. Bob cycled over 500 miles to every Premier League football club in the UK, in 11 days, raising over £320,000 to support the work of the charity as well as national awareness of its work. "Turning 70, I wanted to achieve something special with this 500 mile cycle. 70 is already a significant number for me as it was my greatest year in football - winning the European Fairs Cup in 1970 and one year later, the coveted League Championship and FA Cup 'double'. Combining another

big achievement some 40 years later with a chance to support so many younger adults and their families living with serious and life-threatening illness has been so rewarding. The whole experience has been more empowering than I could have imagined and the support has been phenomenal.” The legacy of the Bob Wilson Soccer Cycle lives on, encouraging others to set themselves personal challenges for a great cause. Willow has a range of challenge events you can take part in and every cycle, run, swim or climb completed in aid of the charity makes a real and positive difference to younger adults living with the realities of a life-threatening illness. Read on to choose your challenge for 2012.

Take a look at Bob’s book at www.willow foundation.org.uk

2012 willow news 11


Fundraising Challenges

Third annual Willow 10k is best yet

ss!

Trustee Terry Mitchinson and Bob Wilson at the finish

Stop pre

date confirmed y 7th as Sunda at er b Octo use o H Hatfield

Record marathon effort

Last year our amazing Virgin London Marathon runners raised a recordbreaking £80,535.90 – competitors included beneficiary Tom Hall our first in with an amazing time of 3 hours 10 mins. Tom had a special day in 2007 with his girlfriend Emma and raised £6,424. Ray Holmes, a 2009 beneficiary crossed the line in 4 hours 10 mins. A huge thank you to everyone who competed for Willow. It’s not only London that saw marathon runners raise vital funds for the Willow Foundation. Along with two others, Jo Arthur, Interim PR Manager took part in her first marathon, running the streets of New York to raise £1,500 for Willow. Well done Jo!

12 willow news 2012

Six hundred runners and walkers special day beneficiaries and medical lined up side by side to take part in professionals. our signature challenge event in the Adults were not the only ones given stunning grounds of Hatfield House. the opportunity to take home a medal. After a welcome from charity Life The children’s race proved just as President, Bob Wilson, a rousing warmpopular – and what’s more all young up from Martyn Oakey, and an inspiring competitors managed to fit onto the speech from one of our beneficiaries, stage to collect their trophy. Ray Holmes, the race began. Bob Wilson said: “This year the 106 Jack fm’s Janine Jones did a atmosphere was even better with sterling job cheering runners the wonderful support of toward the finish line with our media partners, the the first male and female Welwyn Hatfield Times and Race results: competitors surging home in 106 Jack fm. It is a truly Male: under 35 minutes. special occasion and one 1 David Hobbs First place female, Laura which I hope will become 2 David Robinson Cowley, a member of the one of Hertfordshire’s most 3 Peter Harvey Herts Phoenix Running Club, popular running events.” Female: said: “Willow is a great local Willow hopes to be able 1 Laura Cowley charity - we are really proud to welcome even more 2 Kathryn Sheik of it and will always people in 2012 to the 3 Stacey Harris support it.” Willow 10k. Check out the Largest Team: Other runners and charity’s website to see Stalwart Willow walkers included chair of more photos and keep up fundraisers Putterills Estate trustees Richard King, CEO to date with progress at Agents Gill Edelman, 'marathon www.willowfoundation. machine' Richard Davis, org.uk

Wacky Rally Willow supporters David Brooke, Ivan Young and Steve McCabe took on a challenge with a difference. They bought an old banger, affectionately known as the 'beast', covered it in astroturf and drove it around Europe raising over £1,900 for Willow. The ‘wacky rally’ took them through some amazing scenery, from the Alps to the Dolomites, going over the largest pass in Italy - all in three days. The boys even managed to fit in a quick round of golf!

diary 2012 Dates for the Mar athon 11 march Adidas Half n 22 April Virgin London Maratho 10k on Lond a Bup May 27 10 june St Albans Half Marathon 8 July Asics 10k NEW 15 July Willow Cycle Challenge – 13-22 Sept China trek 22-23 Sept Virgin London Triathlon 7 Oct Willow 10k

on a For more information about taking the to up sign to or ow challenge for Will tact con tin challenge e-bulle .uk carol.young@willowfoundation.org


Fundraising Challenges

Bicycle fun! Our life president’s efforts have already inspired several bicycle-based fundraisers that took place last year with more planned for 2012:

Coast to coast

How to get involved

Robert Starr and six of his friends cycled the famous Coast to Coast path and raised over £9,500. Robert heard about the Willow Foundation from his friend and loyal Willow supporter Tony Lennon who helps to organise a fundraising ball every year.

Opportunities start at Willow House in Hertfordshire working with the staff on a wide range of projects, initiatives and mailings. If you enjoy social occasions then why not organise your own fundraiser or sign up to support various key fundraising events and activities?

Southend to Southend

Following in Bob’s tracks, Leisure Link Golf Holidays chairman and former Southend United footballer, Garry Nelson embarked on a major cycle challenge of his own last October. Joined by 11 friends and family, Garry and team completed the 650-mile journey from Southend, Mull of Kintyre, back home to Southend-on-Sea in eight days - averaging  80 miles per day. The group raised over £10,000 for Willow.

All in a day’s work

Employees from Cyclescheme and parent company Grass Roots Group (GRG), joined forces this summer for an epic 100-mile cycle commute from their Bath HQ to Hertfordshire base. The group of 10 cyclists completed the journey in eight hours 46 minutes raising over £1,400 for Willow.

Volunteering -

Supporting Willow in your community

Ride the Rockies

This June a charity ride across the Rockies to raise funds for 100 special days, organised by Glyn Powell and Martyn Oakey will take place. The duo, along with four others will aim to raise £50,000 by completing a 12-day challenge to cycle 1,066km in 18-hour relays across the Canadian Rockies. Glyn, who has battled to overcome cancer and other illnesses explains his motivation: “A challenge like this is an extreme goal to work towards. The challenge has to be ‘off the wall’ to ensure I stick to my goals and achieve success despite my illness. My motivation now is not to let everyone down and to show them that hard work and not giving up prevails over troubled times.”

Take on Willow’s cycling challenge – new for 2012 Feeling inspired by these cycling adventurers? Willow is proud to announce we are planning our very own Hertfordshire-based cycle challenge in 2012.  The Willow cycling challenge will take place on 15 July and will accommodate three levels – 100 miles for the experienced, competitive cyclists, 60 miles for the keen club cyclists and 25 miles for the fun day cyclists. Enter as an individual or as a team.  Register your interest by emailing carol.young@willowfoundation.org. uk and watch out for more news on our website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Raising funds and charity awareness amongst your family, friends, colleagues and the wider community is absolutely invaluable. Whether it's organising a car boot sale, coffee morning, a tea party or a bigger event in aid of the Willow Foundation, every pound raised and person you speak to will make a difference. We are here to support you in your fundraising so please do get in touch with our Community Team to discuss your plans. They can offer help and advice as well as put you in touch with the Willow Champion in your area who can help you to spread the word and increase funds. They have promotional literature, banners, balloons and collections pots at their disposal that will help brand your event and inform your guests.

Helping at key fundraising events Willow has a full fundraising calendar which ranges from sportsman's dinners to gala balls, golf days to polo events and challenge events such as the Willow 10K. At each we need the support of Willow volunteers to assist with event management and fundraising initiatives. Responsibilities include amongst others, helping with setting up and breaking down, greeting guests, selling raffle tickets, assisting with the auction, challenge event registration, cheering teams and marshalling. For volunteering opportunities at Willow contact: Lucie Hodgkinson, Willow's Volunteer Co-ordinator - lucie. hodgkinson@willowfoundation.org.uk For support with fundraising in your community contact: Niki Michael Community Fundraising Manager - niki. michael@willowfoundation.org.uk 2012 willow news 13


Fundraising Community

Willow wardrobe Tasty treats up for grabs at Willow Wardrobe

Shoppers fight over a beautiful dress donated by Issa

Louise Redknapp of Something for the Weekend and This Morning’s Ruth Langsford were among the guests to make the exclusive launch of Willow Wardrobe a great success. More than £14,500 and the profile of the charity was raised significantly in the local area and beyond. The shop was bursting at the seams with donated pieces with rails stocked with clothes and accessories generously given by designers such as Issa, Alice Temperley, Whistles, Reiss and Oliver Bonas to name but a few, alongside pre-loved quality items. Willow Wardrobe, the brainchild of Surrey-based stylist Sarah Jarrett, and daughter-in-law of Bob and Megs Wilson, was overwhelmed by the response. Despite huge amounts of donations and plenty of willing volunteers to man the shop, with customers queuing up outside on day one, Sarah feared that there may not be

Keep up to date with our latest fundraising ventures on Facebook at facebook.com/willowfoundation.

Corporate supporters

Leestock latest The founders of the annual Leestock music festival celebrated their friend’s life in style for the fourth year running. Thanks to their dedication the festival is part of the local live music calendar, having raised more than £20,000 for the Willow Foundation and counting. Leestock remembers the life of Lee Dunford, who at 17, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In spite of his illness, his love for music and life continued. The Willow Foundation arranged a special day at a music studio where Lee and his friends produced their own song. Sadly, Lee died after four years battling cancer. In 2008, Lee’s friends held a small music festival in Suffolk as a tribute to him, named Leestock. A variety of bands played and it was hailed a great success. In 2009 Leestock became a two day event with

enough stock to last the four days it was due to be open. More than £2,000 was raised before the shop even opened its doors to the public after an exclusive opening launch night. Sarah explained: “People were coming from far and wide to come to the shop, including London and Southampton. The comments throughout were about the quality of the stock - modern highend fashion. What stood out was that lots of people were staying in the shop as they enjoyed the whole experience. I had a few donations from loved ones whose relatives had received a special day and still hold on to the memories of their experience. Thank you to everyone who took the time to rifle through their cupboards to stock Willow Wardrobe.”

double the number of acts, resulting in a massive £5,000 being raised for the Willow Foundation. The success of the festival has continued to increase year on year. Peter Keogh, one of the organisers said: “Leestock is a great way to celebrate Lee’s life. He inspired the event through his love for music and socialising; it continues to help others today who are in a similar situation to Lee.” To find out more about the festival visit www.leestock.org

Individuals and companies regularly choose to support Willow year after year. Belvoir Castle A shoot day, hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Rutland, in the beautiful grounds of Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire raised £25,403. Corporate Games Willow benefited from the events of an annual multi-sport festival held at Bob Wilson’s former university. The Loughborough University RAG team volunteered over the whole weekend helping us to raise almost £5,000. Dressing down adds up Each month employees from Simplyhealth choose three charities to support through the proceeds of its dress down days. We are grateful to David Pettit who nominated us, and for the donation of £1,000.

Take Time For Tea Why not take time for tea with your family, friends and colleagues and raise a pound or two for charity at the same time. The Willow Foundation’s Take Time for Tea initiative culminates with an awareness month in June but you can help us to raise funds all year round with this fun fundraising activity... Every cuppa counts... find out more at www.willowfoundation.org.uk/taketimefortea or call 01707 259777 for more information. 14 willow news 2012


Fundraising Special Events

Hole in one Golf tournaments retain their position as the No.1 sporting fundraiser. This year the charity introduced two new competitions, Willow at Loch Lomond and the Ian Wright Golf Classic, which, together with the annual Celebrity Golf Day, raised in excess of £150,000

Frogmore celebrates 50th In April of last year loyal Willow supporter Frogmore held a gala dinner to celebrate their 50th anniversary in aid of the charity. The event at London’s Park Plaza Riverbank hotel raised an outstanding £254,000 to help support Willow’s work with seriously ill younger adults. We thank Frogmore for their continued support and phenomenal fundraising efforts on behalf of the charity.

Willow at Loch Lomond

Ian Wright, Walter Smith, John Hollins, Bob Wilson, Chris Hollins and Steve Rider were amongst guests for Willow at Loch Lomond last May. The sporting legends and sports presenters joined forces in aid of Willow for a round on the WeiskopfMorrish parkland course - one of the most famous courses in the world. The tournament, sponsored by ProVision Financial Consultants, was followed by a banquet complete with pipers and haggis for one of the most spectacular dinners in the charity's history.

Golf swings of support

An outstanding £43, 758 was raised at a golf day arranged by Willow supporter Roger Riggs at St Pierre Hotel, Bristol.

Celebrity Golf Day

Brocket Hall Golf Club in Hertfordshire once again hosted the Celebrity Golf Day. The twenty teams were joined by well known faces from the worlds of sport and entertainment for a day's play. The competition was sponsored by Pam and Duncan Sinclair and Iris and Steve Unwin.

Shoot Day Guests enjoyed a day’s shoot at the Royal Berkshire Shooting School. Sponsored by Frogmore and CBRE the shoot included an eighty bird competition with a simulated pheasant flush throughout the day and raised £29,000.

Spellbound Ball An evening of illusion and magic was enjoyed by more than 500 guests at London’s Park Plaza Westminster Bridge. The spectacular evening raised over £280,000 for the charity. The entertainment included some of the UK's best close up magicians and illusionists plus international acts. Boney M completed the line up as guests danced into the early hours. With thanks to our headline sponsors Pam and Duncan Sinclair, key sponsors Frogmore and Weston Homes and Pete Bamford for sharing his special day experience. This year’s ball will take place on 20 October.

Stars on canvas Look out for Stars on Canvas as it returns later this year. The popular online auction of canvases created by artists, sports celebrities, musicians and stars of stage and screen will again aim to raise vital funds for the charity.

2012 Events C alendar 12 May Polo Day

Ian Wright Golf Classic

The charity's first overseas golf tournament tee'd off with the inaugural Ian Wright Golf Classic in Portugal last September. Ian and his guests were joined by sporting legends such as Teddy Sheringham, Dwight Yorke, Francis Lee, Brian Lara, David Seaman and Les Ferdinand for the three day event which included a gala dinner, hosted by DJ Spoony with after dinner entertainment from the fabulous, Kev Orkian.

18 May Willow 21 May Celeb Shoot Day, Berkshire rity Golf Day 20-23 Sept Ian Wright Gol f Classic 20 Oct Willow Nov 2012 St Annual Ball ar 4 Dec Carol s on Canvas Concert To register yo ur details or rese interest, request further rv events listed, e your places for any of the please contact louise.smith@ willowfounda tion.org.uk

2012 willow news 15


What a difference a donation makes

special days for seriously ill 16-40 year olds

I don't think anyone will ever comprehend just how much of an impact this day had on me. It was overwhelmingly amazing and helped me to see that there was some optimism, positivity and hope for better times and life itself Jan, special day beneficiary

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Freepost return address: Freepost RLYY-XLHH-LJHU, Willow Foundation, Willow House, 18 Salisbury Square, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 5BE T. 01707 259777 F. 01707 259289 E. info@willowfoundation.org.uk W. www.willowfoundation.org.uk The Willow Foundation is a charity registered with the Charity Commission in England and Wales, number 1106746

Willow News 2012 issue 20  

Willow Foundation charity supporter newsletter.