‘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

Community hungry to help charity neighbours

Community hungry to help charity neighbours

A HUNGRY community in lockdown has helped a Hatton Park business raise hundreds of pounds for a charity close to home.

Salt and Pepper’s presented charity neighbours Molly Olly’s Wishes with £548 – its first in a series of donations this year to local good causes.

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 and grants wishes and donates therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.

Molly Olly's Wishes, Rachel Ollerenshaw

Its mascot 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.

But the charity has been forced to find new ways of fundraising to compensate for lost proceeds throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the cancellation of all its planned fundraising events, amounting to a forecast loss of £250,000 the charity failed to qualify for any cash grants.

Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “Molly Olly’s Wishes want to thank Ess, Parmy and all their customers for their support. The pizzas are clearly a big hit on Hatton Park and in the wider community. The money raised is very gratefully received. These donations are vital to help Molly Olly’s continue our work supporting families. We have received so many wishes recently of things such as essentials like cots, beds, prams to electronic devices to climbing frames and swings. All of these items may not seem that important but to child who is seriously ill spending long periods in hospital or who cannot go out as they have a weakened immune system, these gifts can make a huge difference. A big thanks from Molly Olly’s.”

Parmy said: “We’ve had so much local support and help from the Hatton Park community so giving something back was always important to us and part of our business plan.

“Molly Olly’s had to be the first charity we supported, we were so touched when we found out about the amazing work they do and it’s certainly a cause we’ll support again.”

Molly Olly's Wishes, Molly Ollerenshaw
Molly Ollerenshaw, aged eight.

Further details can be found at: www.mollyolly.co.uk

Ess Sangha and Parmy Dhillon who run Salt and Pepper’s, have pledged to continue their support of local charities through their culinary efforts.

Salt and Pepper’s provide hand-made pizza, friend chicken, sides, drinks and desserts with free delivery service throughout Warwick on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Visit: www.pizzawarwick.co.uk

Unique NHS bench goes under the hammer for children’s charity

Unique NHS bench goes under the hammer for children’s charity

A one-of-a-kind copper bench is being auctioned off to raise funds for a Warwick charity for children with terminal and life-limiting illnesses thanks to the generosity of a Solihull couple.

The bench, which bears the topical message: ‘2020 Love NHS’ was crafted from copper piping by plumbing firm Rudkin & Herbert in Leicester and bought for £2,000 by Simon and Lorraine Cave, from Solihull.

Molly Olly's Wishes, Rudkin & Herbert, COVID-19, NHS, plumbers, fundraising

The couple donated the proceeds to Leicester’s Loros Hospice and Cancer Research before then regifting the bench to Molly Olly’s Wishes, a charity which was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

The Hatton-based charity 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 Molly Olly’s Wishes 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.

The donation will come at a critical time for Molly Olly’s which, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is forecast to lose around £250k in fundraising this year.

Simon Cave said he became familiar with the charity after moving to Solihull with his wife Lorraine more than 20 years ago.

He said: “I wanted to donate some money to Loros but I’ve been involved in some of Molly Olly’s fundraising events for a few years now and I think it is a great cause that’s long been close to our hearts. We’re also aware how much charities are suffering at the moment.”

Molly Olly's Wishes, COVID-19, copper bench, fundraising
Ian Herbert of Rudkin & Herbert with the bench and, inset, Simon and Lorraine Cave.

Bids can be placed on the bench by texting BID to 07747 854914 with the amount, your name and preferred form of contact. (Delivery to UK address only.) The successful highest bidder will be announced on June 15th, which marks the ninth anniversary of Molly’s death.

Ian Herbert, director of Rudkin & Herbert, where a heating engineer spent a day making the bench from copper piping, said: “We felt this was the least we could do and wanted to show our appreciation for what the NHS are doing under the current circumstances. Also, my daughter has recently become an ambulance driver so it is very close to home.

But he added: “It’s not just the NHS that need our help and donations, there are hundreds of smaller worthwhile charities in our communities that need our help and donations now. Every donation helps, whether big or small.”

Molly Olly's Wishes
Rachel Ollerenshaw

The charity’s founder Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “Molly Olly’s Wishes are very grateful to the team at Rudkin and Herbert and Simon and Lorraine Cave for donating this unique bench to the charity to help raise funds. It is certainly a piece that is symbolic of these extraordinary times and recognises the amazing work of the NHS.

“We hope to get lots of interest and the highest bidder will be the new owner and in the process will have helped make a difference to the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses. “

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