Fundraising in memory of young man who took his own life

Fundraising in memory of young man who took his own life

Red Lion, Hellidon, fundraising, mental health awareness, Papyrus, Freespirit Pub Company
The Red Lion team

Staff at a pub swapped roles for a special night of fundraising in memory of a Warwickshire regular who took his own life on New Year’s Day.

The Turning Tables dining experience last week raised nearly £1,000 and marks the first in a series of charity events organised by The Red Lion in Hellidon, in aid of three mental health and suicide charities close to the family’s heart.

Twenty-two-year-old Leonard Eadon, from Napton-on-the-Hill, tragically took his own on life on the morning of January 1st.

The only child of Andy and Lynda Eadon, he was a popular figure in the local community, and between his studies, often worked with his dad at the family business, F L Eadon & Son Farm, in Southam.

Red Lion, Hellidon, fundraising, mental health awareness, Papyrus, Freespirit Pub Company
Len, pictured here age 15, was a keen drummer

Andy and Lynda said: “Losing our son, Len, as we did, and at such a young age was a massive shock. It has left an equally large void. We have also seen so many of his friends who are hurting badly and are shocked by what happened.

“We decided, early on, that we need to do something to try to prevent other parents, families and friends from going through a similar, dreadful experience.

“The response from the local farming community, and wider, was immediate and so very heart warming. Of course it will never replace our fantastic, caring, humorous and loving son and friend. But knowing others care and hearing their tales of shared experiences and laughter with him goes a long way.

“Len enjoyed meals and drinks with his friends at the Red Lion. They have kindly set up some amazing fundraising events in March and April to help support Len’s legacy. We are touched and very grateful to them, their customers and everyone who has made donations.”

Red Lion, Hellidon, fundraising, mental health awareness, Papyrus, Freespirit Pub Company
Len, aged 9.

The former Southam College student also had his sights set on a career in agriculture having recently completed a degree in Rural Enterprise and Land Management at Harper Adams University in Shropshire.

Len’s funeral took place at Banbury Crematorium on what would have been his 23rd birthday, February 14th. He was involved in all sorts of hobbies, including drumming, sports and clay pigeon shooting as well as being a talented mechanic. And his funeral procession included a Landrover which he’d recently rebuilt from scratch with his best friend.

Len’s uncle, Larry James, who is helping with the fundraising campaign, said: “It’s been an absolutely unbearable time. It’s really hard to grieve. Firstly because of the shock, you’re thinking it can’t be possible. Secondly, you can’t work out why he did it and will probably never know, and thirdly, constantly asking yourself, what could I have done? It’s the same for all his friends and family.

“I spoke to him the evening before he went out with a friend to a New Year’s Eve party and everything seemed fine. This sadly shows the importance of young people opening up about their fears and worries. It is okay to say ‘all is not okay’ and to ask for help.”

Red Lion, Hellidon, fundraising, mental health awareness, Papyrus, Freespirit Pub Company
Rogerio Antunes, Assistant Manager washing the pots

The Red Lion’s Turning Tables event invited customers to be wined and dined as part of a topsy turvy evening of hospitality which saw front of house staff swap roles with kitchen staff. It was the first of three events at the pub, total proceeds from which will be divided between the Eadon family’s nominated causes – PAPYRUS, The Farm Safety Foundation and The Farming Community Network.

PAPYRUS works to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by shattering the stigma around suicide, including equipping young people and their communities with the skills to recognise and respond to, suicidal behaviour. https://www.papyrus-uk.org/

The Farm Safety Foundation, also known as Yellow Wellies, is a Stratford-based charity dedicated to raising awareness of farm safety and mental wellbeing in farmers. https://www.yellowwellies.org/

The Farming Community Network is a voluntary organisation, based in Northamptonshire, which supports farmers and their families, with a particular focus on preventing suicide in farming and rural communities. https://fcn.org.uk/

Since opening the fundraising campaign a few weeks ago, the family have already raised more than £18,000 for the charities.

The next event being hosted by The Red Lion is a Chilli & Quiz Night, on Sunday, April 17th. Tickets for this are £10 per person, available from the pub.

An Easter raffle will also be drawn on the same evening, all proceeds being added to the total pot. Prizes include a Fortnum and Mason Hamper and Afternoon Tea for two at The Castle at Edgehill, a sister business in the Freespirit portfolio. Tickets available at £1 each from the pub.

Red Lion General Manager Jane Hearsay said: “What a fantastic night was had by all for our Turning Tables evening. An incredible evening where roles were reversed, the front of house served up a treat out of the kitchen, served excellently by our kitchen team!

“A huge thank you to everyone who attended and also those who supported with donations from afar for truly amazing charities.”

Red Lion, Hellidon, fundraising, mental health awareness, Papyrus, Freespirit Pub Company
Olivia Krawczyk Waitresses Tia Goss Jane Hearsey, General Manager.

The family are now planning an event in celebration of Leonard’s life on June 5th at Stoneleigh Park Estate, in Kenilworth. The day will be themed around farming in the community and will include agricultural competitions, Best Scarecrow Fancy Dress and sporting competitions.

Donations can also be made via: https://leneadon.muchloved.com/ where there is also further information about other events being planned in Len’s memory.

Red Lion, Hellidon, fundraising, Freespirit Pub Company, Len Eadon, mental health awareness

The Red Lion serves food throughout the week and has seven rooms, each individually designed. It is one of five venues under the Free Spirit Pub ownership, owned by Mark Higgs, the others being: The Castle at Edgehill; The Sun Inn, Hook Norton; The Seven Stars, Marsh Baldon and The Bel Inn, Southam.

https://redlionathellidon.co.uk/

Golfers invite everyone to pitch in to support fundraising challenge

Golfers invite everyone to pitch in to support fundraising challenge

When it comes to fundraising, two golfing friends from Warwickshire certainly aren’t playing around!

Pat Manning from Warwick and Bill Ryan from Leamington, are preparing to take on an epic 11-day golf challenge in aid of local children’s charity Molly Ollys later this month.

The pair are hoping to raise more than £4k as they walk 160 miles between 35 golf courses, stopping to play a hole at each.

Starting and finishing at Leamington & County Golf Club, they will follow a route via golf clubs across three counties, including Warwick, Kenilworth, Stoneleigh, Coventry, Sheldon, Solihull, Birmingham, Kings Norton, Bromsgrove, Redditch, Droitwich, Worcester, Evesham, Welford and Stratford-upon-Avon.

The challenge marks the first in a year of fundraising for Molly Ollys at the Leamington & County Golf Club, at which both men are longstanding members.

Molly Ollys, golf, fundraising

Bill, who is current club captain, said: “I have been looking at a number of charities to support throughout my year as Captain which was becoming a difficult decision as there are so many worthwhile causes.

“It became easier after meeting with the founder of Molly Olly Wishes who described to me the incredible work that they do for young children who are going through extremely difficult times.”

 

Pat, 59, and Bill, 62, are already clocking up the miles in preparation for the challenge, from March 14th which will see them cover an average of 15 miles a day, with clubs in tow.

Pat said: “We’ve done some fundraising but never staged anything quite like this before. We wanted to do something that’s not been done before but on a golfing theme. Playing 36 holes is a normal format in golf but I thought we could do it with a bit of a twist by making it an endurance test as well.

“The weather is predicted to pose the biggest potential problem. And, we’re hoping we don’t get any muscular injuries along the route. But whatever’s thrown at us we’ll get through it one way or another.”

Molly Ollys was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

Throughout the 10 years that the charity has been running, it has:-

  • granted more than 2,500 wishes
  • supported more than 16,000 children
  • distributed more than 13,000 Olly The Brave books to more than 70 hospitals
  • raised more than £3 million

Between 2017 and 2020, the charity funded Birmingham’s first paediatric palliative consultant as there was no such consultant for the region. That position has now become permanent and is currently funded through the NHS.

Molly Ollys, golf, fundraising
Rachel Ollerenshaw with charity mascot Olly The Brave

The charity works alongside the NHS to support projects within the hospitals and the community. One key project was the creation and refurbishment of Magnolia House at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. This is a safe and non-clinical space where medical teams and families can have important discussions.

The charity is well-known for its therapeutic toy lion, Olly The Brave, which has its own Hickman line and a detachable mane. The soft toy helps to explain and normalise the effects of chemotherapy. These form part of an Olly The Brave pack which includes a six-part book series. Further information is available here

Founder Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “Pat and Bill have certainly come up with a novel way to fundraise and one that will definitely be a challenge. The support from Leamington Golf Club and the wider golfing community to enable this event has been great and big thanks to everyone involved at the clubs and those who have donated.“

To sponsor Pat and Bill visit here

‘Fun-draising’ boosts children’s charity coffers

‘Fun-draising’ boosts children’s charity coffers

PEDALO power, pumpkins and bananas were among the wide range of fundraising themes resulting in donations of more than £2,600 to a Warwick children’s charity.

Leamington Morrisons community champion Alex Pearson and her friend Emma Brayne from Warwick were joined by Alex’s two canine companions as they travelled almost 12km – and negotiated 27 locks – in a pedalo, raising £1,922 for Molly Olly’s Wishes.

The pair completed weeks of training to prepare for the eight-hour challenge, from Radford Semele to at Hatton Locks, in July.

Their efforts, which had the support of Leamington Boats and The Canal River Trust, were boosted with fundraising outside Morrisons in Leamington and match-funded by the store.

Molly Olly's Wishes, fundraising, Morrisons
From left: Pedalo fundraisers Emma Brayne and Alex Pearson with Olly The Brave and Rachel Ollerenshaw.

Alex said: “Last Christmas I was looking for a new charity to work with. I knew what Molly Olly’s do is just amazing. The idea of a pedalo was just me thinking outside the box.

“Loads of people do runs and walks so I wanted to be different and seeing a pedalo on the Grand Union Canal is just that. Having Archie and Chester with me is just another great thing to have as both of them help with fundraising for charities where they can.

“As Molly Olly’s is celebrating 10 years it would be amazing do something for this milestone. I have my thinking cap on as we speak.”

 

Molly Olly's Wishes, fundraising, Morrisons
Emma and Alex completing their pedalo challenge in the summer

Other local businesses have also been busy, including The Edwards Company in Wombourne which has presented £400 through a series of fun fundraising initiatives including Halloween competitions, guess the bananas in the jar competition, donating £1 every time they write a blog, and supporting the ‘O For Olly’ social media campaign.

Elsewhere, The Deli in Warwick has raised £100 by running a pumpkin carving competition and The Marketing Pod in Solihull – which is an integrated marketing agency – has donated £200, after learning of the valuable work the charity does.

Molly Olly’s Wishes was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

The Warwick-based charity supports children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses and their families. It gives gifts, helps with emotional support and it donates therapeutic toys and books to children directly and through hospitals across the UK.

Founder Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “It is just amazing for us to have such proactive supporters. From a pedalo challenge to Halloween competitions and guessing how many bananas are in a jar! What a plethora of creative ideas and ways to raise funds.

“That money will allow us at Molly Olly’s to make lots of very poorly children smile with a wonderful gift that they or their family have chosen. We are very grateful to Morrisons Leamington, the Edwards Company, the deli Warwick and The Marketing Pod.”

To find out all the ways you can donate to Molly Olly’s Wishes, please visit https://www.mollyolly.co.uk/learn-about-donating/

Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw
Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw with the familiar Molly Olly’s pink van.

ABOUT MOLLY OLLY’S WISHES

 Molly Olly’s Wishes was set up following the experiences of Molly over the 5 years she received treatment for kidney cancer at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Throughout the 10 years that the charity has been running, it has:-

  • granted more than 2,100 wishes
  • supported more than 16,000 children
  • distributed more than 12,000 Olly The Brave books to more than 70 hospitals
  • raised more than £3 million

Between 2017 and 2020, the charity funded Birmingham’s first paediatric palliative consultant as there was no such consultant for the region. That position has now become permanent and is currently funded through the NHS.

The charity works alongside the NHS to support projects within the hospitals and the community. One key project was the creation and refurbishment of Magnolia House at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. This is a safe and non-clinical space where medical teams and families can have important discussions.

The charity is well-known for its therapeutic toy lion, Olly The Brave, which has its own Hickman line and a detachable mane. The soft toy helps to explain and normalise the effects of chemotherapy. These form part of an Olly The Brave pack which includes a six-part book series. For more info, please visit www.mollyolly.co.uk

Takeaway owner prepares for 363km challenge in memory of late son

Takeaway owner prepares for 363km challenge in memory of late son

A Warwick business owner is set to embark on the latest in a series of fundraising challenges to give back to those who helped care for his late son.

Baabzi Miah, who runs Baabzi Takeaway in Coten End, has pledged to walk and cycle a distance of 363 kilometres in aid of Mencap after already raising more than £10,000 for the NHS throughout the pandemic.

Baabzi Miah, Mencap, Down syndrome, NHS

Starting on March 21st, World Down Syndrome Day, Baabzi aims to walk the equivalent distance in kilometres as the number of days in his young son Adam’s life.

Adam, who was born with Down syndrome and pulmonary hypertension, died in 2017 at just 11 months old after suffering complications due to flu.

The takeaway owner from Birmingham, who also has six other children, said that he and his family would never forget the care they received during the ‘worst time in their lives’.

Baabzi Mia, down syndrome, Mencap
Adam is Baabzi’s inspiration for the fundraising

“Although his time was short it is in Adam’s memory that I am driven to help raise money for fantastic organisations that helped my son in every way possible during those 363 days,” he said.

“Mencap does some truly inspiring work and I wholeheartedly back their ethos that everybody is an individual and they treat everyone they work with as individuals.

“It’s work like this and their expertise that means Mencap is close to my heart. I want to help raise funds to help them to continue to provide excellent programs, services and support within this area.”

He added: “I’m going to start this challenge with 5km a day and then increase the daily target by 1 km daily so hopefully I’ll be completing it within six weeks.”

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division results in an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21.

Laura Bruce, the area fundraiser for Mencap, said: “I am truly honoured to be supporting Baabzi and his family with their fundraising. It’s been such a difficult journey and helping them has been lovely. I have been supporting Baabzi for a number of years and he has already raised money for Mencap through activities in his takeaway. I am looking forward to supporting him throughout this year to raise an incredible £10,000.

She added: “Mencap is the leading learning disability charity, passionate about changing the world for the 1.5 million people with a learning disability. We’re here to improve the lives of people with a learning disability and their families right now and fight alongside them for a better future.”

This challenge marks the latest fundraiser since the launch of Baabzi’s Covid-19 NHS Appeal during the first lockdown last year and is in aid of the hospitals that cared for Adam – Heartlands and Birmingham Children’s Hospitals and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

He has now raised more than £10,000 through events including a charity night, a sponsored cycling challenge and even a skydive last August.

Throughout the first lockdown he and his team also donated food parcels to Warwick and Birmingham Children’s Hospitals frontline workers as well as the Helping Hands homelessness charity in Leamington.

They also donated 2,000 surgical masks to staff at Warwick Hospital.

He said: “Our incredibly personal and life-changing experience heavily impacted our lives. Losing a child left a massive vacuum and the only way that I have been able to find much-needed comfort and peace has been this need to serve, to give back in some way.

“This has been a very personal journey for me and my family and it’s helped us heal. My family and I were cared for and lovingly supported by these wonderful people at the NHS during a harrowing time in their own lives. Nothing short of angelic teams of nurses and doctors tirelessly worked to save our baby boy, who sadly passed away after a brave battle to overcome his health challenges.

“I can never forget that and that’s why last year I raised money for the NHS and did whatever I could for them to show that support and respect that I have for them.”

He added: “You never know when you, a loved one or a friend will need the care, the medical attention and importantly the sacrifice of a front-line worker. There’s a time to give and a time to take, and this is where those of us who can, should give back.”

To support Baabzi’s fundraising visit: www.mencap.org.uk/donate

If you’d like more information on the charity, ways to get involved or even do your own fundraising, contact community.fundraising@mencap.org.uk 

Down’s syndrome

A person with Down’s syndrome will have some degree of learning disability, but the level of ability will be different for each individual.

They might take longer than other children their age to reach certain milestones and to develop certain skills and may also need ongoing support for different aspects of their life when they become an adult.

As with other conditions associated with learning disability, every person with Down’s syndrome is an individual and, with the right support and opportunities, can lead a happy and fulfilling life.

People with Down’s syndrome will typically have some level of learning disability and characteristic physical features.

There are some health problems associated with Down’s syndrome, such as heart problems and difficulties with sight and hearing, but these will not affect everyone with the condition.

People will live with the condition for their whole life, but there are ways to help children develop into healthy adults who are able to live the lives they choose. This includes:

  • access to good healthcare
  • early intervention programmes to provide support for children and parents
  • good relationships and family life
  • education and support groups.

Further information and advice about Down’s syndrome is available via the Mencap helpline between 10am and 3pm Monday to Friday on 0808 808 1111. Or email: helpline@mencap.org.uk

Steve makes huge strides to boost funds – and fitness

Steve makes huge strides to boost funds – and fitness

A kind-hearted granddad from Stratford is losing pounds – whilst also raising pounds – for local causes in lockdown.

Fifty-six-year-old Steve May has vowed to walk 500,000 steps a month in aid of 12 different charities throughout 2021 – the equivalent to 6 million steps – or 3,000 miles –  the width between the east and west coast of America.

The fundraising fitness regime comes on the back of a new-found love for walking which started in lockdown last March and has seen him shed three-and-a-half stone in weight.

Steve May, Molly Olly's Wishes, fundraising

Steve, who has lived in Stratford all his life, said: “I had to shield and work from home so I took advantage of the one hour’s exercise every day and it built up from there. I walked every day since 14th March last year and really enjoyed appreciating the great outdoors.

“It’s also been good for me on a personal level because it’s improved my physical and mental fitness. It means I’ve been able to reduce my medication for high blood pressure and don’t have to wear a mask at night for sleep apnoea anymore, all due to the weight loss.

“Also, if I can do it and enjoy it and raise money for different charities then that makes it even more rewarding.”

Until the end of March Steve, an operational support analyst at Sitel in Stratford, is walking in aid of Warwick children’s charity Molly Olly’s Wishes.

The charity was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

It works to support children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses and their families and help with their emotional wellbeing as well as grant wishes and donate therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.

Mascot of the charity is a therapeutic toy lion called Olly The Brave who has his own Hickman line and a detachable mane which helps to explain and normalise the effects of chemotherapy. These form part of an Olly The Brave pack that has now been handed out to more than 40 hospitals, along with a book from the charity’s exclusive Olly The Brave series.

Part of more than £2.5m raised to date, has also been used to fund the first Molly Olly consultant in paediatric medicine at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Other charities lined up to benefit include MIND, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and two charities particularly close to Steve’s heart following his father’s death four years ago, Myton Hospice and Blood Cancer UK.

Charity founder Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “All The team at Molly Olly’s were very grateful when Steve got in touch to say that we were one of his chosen charities for his 12 months of fundraising. It is great challenge that will help raise much-needed funds for many different organisations including Molly Olly’s which is very much appreciated.

“So many charities have struggled as we are not able to fundraise as usual at a time when we have seen an increase in demand for our services. Every pound counts so please support Steve with his February challenge.”

Further information about Molly Olly’s Wishes or how to donate can be found at: www.mollyolly.co.uk

To donate to Steve’s fundraising, visit: http://www.justgiving.com/Stephen-May7