Raising Awareness and Money for the Shannon Bradshaw Trust, Warrington

Archive for the ‘mum’ Category

Make a Difference Week at Oakwood Avenue CP School

It’s been a while since my last post and a lot has happened! I now have a grand total but before I reveal that I wanted to share what our school did to make a difference. Like Partington’s idea, we chose lots of different charities, including the Shannon Bradshaw Trust, which we raised over £2000 for with a Young Apprentice Challenge for our Key Stage 2 children and the staff took part in ‘It’s a Knockout’. I owe a huge thanks to Lisa Horton one of our Teaching Assistants who worked with my mum and had a vision of recreating this competition for our teachers. It was such good fun and the children and parents loved watching our daft behaviour, we all got the chance to act like big kids and we loved it, check out this video put together by another talented TA Jill Jaeger, she captured the fun perfectly http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7yrz0ADWEI. We raised a huge amount of nearly £1000 which was fantastic!

Our MAD Week took place at the beginning of June, I’ve attached or newsletter which explains it all but it’s safe to say I was bowled over once again by people’s generosity and once again children definitely made a difference!

newsletter MAD week pdf


A Saturday ‘Stroll’ to the Summit of Snowdon

This is a long post today but then again it was a very long (but rewarding) day!!

Two weeks ago today, a group of us (6 adults and 7 children) were ‘strolling’ up to the summit of Snowdon. The word strolling is tongue in cheek because none of us appreciated just how hard it would be – struggling would have been a more appropriate word. But the thought of getting to the top, for the amount of money we were raising for charity, spurred us all on (final total revealed at the end of this blog to make you read on haha)! So did the friendship, encouragement and laughs along the way too!

We decided to take the Llanberis path as the youngest ones in our group were two amazing 7-year-old boys and we were told this was the easiest path. I’m not sure the word ‘easiest’ should ever be used in this post either! We had decided to call ourselves Mad Hatters because of the nature of our charity event and the theme of our original idea. Jill Jaeger, who has been crocheting many things for The Shannon Bradshaw Trust, made us some hats for our walk which were the colours of the rainbow. The rainbow is significant for many reasons. We were trying to find that pot of gold for the charity at the end of it but also because ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ was one of my mum and dad’s favourite songs. It was played at my mum’s funeral last year and in case you haven’t guessed by now, it is in her memory that we are raising as much money as we can for The Shannon Bradshaw Trust/Community Centre.

We were staying at my sister’s caravan in Llanberis so the drive to the start of the path only took us 10 minutes. However, we underestimated how long it would take to get a group of very excited children ready for a day out on the mountain! Loaded up with water, snacks and lunch, we set off on the path at 10.30am. It has to be said that the first part of the path was fairly steep and 10 minutes in, some of us were wondering how on earth we would ever make it to the top. But the friendship, encouragement and laughter were paramount!

The half way cafe was welcome relief for a short rest and a hot cup of coffee. Alex (my niece) who is the brainchild behind the fundraising extravaganza, started with a nosebleed. It was at this point that I started to realise just how high this mountain actually was and I was worried about her. However, her response to me was to tell me off for fussing and in her words ‘I will get to the top of this mountain Jo Jo, I’m doing this for my nana Mary!’ The half way cafe was always going to be the place where we assessed how the younger two boys were doing, Ben (my nephew) and Michael (my best friend’s son). The train was fully booked so we knew there was no chance of getting to the top and coming down on that, so it was going to be walking all the way and they’re both only 7. And while they were finding it tough, there was to be a character we met at this halfway cafe that would spur them on to the top! Liam Hewer, Author of Children’s Books “The Woody Wilds”, was dressed as one of his characters Shelby Snail; he was raising money for Cystic Fibrosis, www.justgiving.com/shelbysnail/. As soon as Michael saw that Shelby Snail was climbing Snowdon, it spurred him on and there was no stopping any of us now!

Michael being spurred on by Shelby Snail!

Michael being spurred on by Shelby Snail!

For anyone who has ever climbed Snowdon, you will know that you meet all weathers along the way and our layers were constantly on and off. As we passed underneath a bridge, close to the top, we stopped for a group photo – we weren’t sure we’d get one at the top as it’s a small space and it was busy. So here is the group of Mad Hatters!

Mad Hatters climb Snowdon

Mad Hatters climb Snowdon

It was from this point on that the walk got colder and much harder. The group began to separate, as we were all going at our own pace. I had Ben with me and at one point he stopped and said ‘Jo Jo, I don’t think I can do this! My legs are so tired and I’m so cold!’ I said ‘It’s ok, we’ll stop for minute’ I layered him up and then all of a sudden the sun came out. I told him that was nana Mary lighting the way for us. At which point, he looked up and saw a seagull, which appeared to be flying along the path ahead of us. Ben then jumped up and excitedly said ‘Jo Jo, that seagull was at the halfway cafe! It is nana Mary, she’s showing us the way!’ He bounced up and down and exclaimed ‘I’ve got new energy in my legs! Let’s go!’ I’m not sure my mum would have been pleased about being called a seagull, but this emotional moment definitely gave us both the energy to carry on! The other Mad Hatters all had their own struggles at different points of the walk but again the togetherness of the different breakout groups and their support of each other pushed them on.

Shortly after passing the stone which would indicate we were nearly there, it got a whole lot windier and scary! The path to the summit looked narrow and dangerous, especially with the wind and younger people. At this point I asked if he wanted to go on up to the summit. He squeezed my hand tight and said ‘Of course! I’m doing this for nana Mary! Come on Jo Jo’ He reminded me so much of my dad at this point, so loving and supportive of me – and I was the adult!

Mad Hatters raising awareness of The Shannon Bradshaw Trust at the summit of Snowdon

Mad Hatters raising awareness of The Shannon Bradshaw Trust at the summit of Snowdon

At exactly, 1.42pm, we reached the summit. The first of the Mad Hatters up there were Lucy and Beth (daughters of my very good friends, Jane and Joanna, from work). They both hugged Ben and I, and I cried! When Jane made it up, we hugged and there were more tears. I share an office with Jane and for this past year she has been amazing support for me on a daily basis (as has everyone from my Oaky family). Joanna, determined as ever, climbed up and a few of us squeezed in for a photo with the banner I’d carried up. ‘Mad Hatters Made it. We climbed Snowdon, in Mary’s Memory for The Shannon Bradshaw Trust.’

After a short stop in the cafe at the summit, we began the journey down. None of us had expected that to be as hard as it was but we made it back down in a couple of hours. It was safe to say that night we all slept soundly.

Every single person who took part in this climb, myself, my niece and nephew Alex (10) and Ben (7), Antonia and her two children Ella (9) and Michael (7), Mags and her son Patrick (9), Jane and her daughter Lucy (13), Joanna and her daughter Beth (12) and not forgetting Steve, our friend, achieved an amazing thing on Saturday May 16th. Not only did we overcome personal fears and difficulties but we also raised an amazing amount of money for The Shannon Bradshaw Trust, with the very latest total being £2287.78. I know we would have made my mum very proud! Thank you so much to Antonia, Mags, Jane, Joanna and Steve, for your support, love and friendship! And your children, Claire, Antonia, Mags, Jane and Joanna, were an absolute credit to you all!

It’s onwards and upwards to my next fundraising event, Make a Difference Week at Oakwood Avenue Primary. This event is set to take place week beginning 8th June, and is raising money for other charities as well as the Shannon Bradshaw Trust. However, this week will focus on our children also taking part in charitable acts and thinking of others through acts of kindness and thoughtfulness.


Thank You Just Doesn’t Seem Enough!

When I first had the idea of children raising money with adults for The Shannon Bradshaw Trust, I could only dream of the weekend I’ve just had. It all began on Friday when I received a cheque from Partington Primary School (I’ll post about our Saturday Snowdon climb tomorrow). I’ve posted before about the plans that Partington had to raise money and I’ve been trying to give updates as and when I’ve heard about them but never did I imagine the total raised or the amount of children who had chosen this as their homework project and every penny helped towards the huge total. There was a newsletter which listed all of the children who had raised money doing their projects, raising from £3 to £710 with activities selling loom bands, swim-a-thons, a walk to the Trafford Centre dressed up, the list went on. Every single penny matters!

Every single penny raised, by every single child showed thoughtfulness, selflessness, dedication and commitment in a world where children are often criticised for being self indulgent, self obsessed and spoilt. It is emotionally overwhelming to know that children who my mum had never met, were willing to work so hard for a charity helping out other children less fortunate than themselves in terms of their health!

I want to say a special thank you to the adults who helped and encouraged the children during MAD week: Emma Pickens, Extended Services Co-ordinator, Naomi Parkinson, Deputy Head and my best friend, who made it all possible by raising an amazing awareness of The Shannon Bradshaw Trust, Anita Edwards, Head Teacher, plus the teaching staff who supported MAD week.

But a huge thank you (I hope this is read by some) has to go to the parents of all of the children for supporting, encouraging and more than likely donating their own money. You have encouraged your children to really make a difference to the lives of others!

In total, including Nursery and Reception’s dance-a-thon during MAD week Partington Primary raised a staggering £2400! Thank you doesn’t seem enough!

Totally Touched by Jill’s Talents

I hope everybody had a Happy Easter. We had a good Easter with my sister Claire and her gorgeous family but it is still extremely strange without mum! It’s like something’s missing and I want to just say ‘Ok enough’s enough now, come back!’ I know she’s not going to come back! But what is keeping me going and spurring me on is the fundraising for The Shannon Bradshaw Trust and the absolute kindness and sheer selflessness of people who are involved in our fund raising extravaganza for the charity. This fund raising extravaganza is due to be celebrated with the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on June 13th where I will have an indication of the amount raised.

I wanted this post to be about another one of those selfless people. Jill Jaeger is a Teaching Assistant at the school I’m deputy at. The phase she works in has decided during Make a Difference (MAD) week to raise money for The Shannon Bradshaw Trust. Each phase within our school has chosen different charities to link in with the curriculum.

Jill has spent most of her Easter holidays crocheting the most amazing products and posting them on Facebook. She has collected wool and different materials in order to make the products and is auctioning them off in the run up to MAD week with all proceeds going to The Shannon Bradshaw Trust. Through posting her creations on Facebook, there was a request for a pink blanket to be made, again with proceeds going to the charity. This blanket is just beautiful!  Jill's blanket

I am so grateful to her for this and cannot believe how much this means to our family but more importantly to the charity. There are going to be so many children with life threatening conditions and their families who will benefit from this money and Jill’s hard work. So thank you Jill! I’ve included some pictures of her work, she is one talented lady. If anyone wants to bid for any, let me know by emailing me at jereilly73@gmail.com

bag 2bagbunny


Blown Away by Ben’s Bike Ride

When Alex and I first had this idea about children leading fund raising events with adults, we imagined it to be big but never in our wildest dreams did we imagine it would be so emotional and touching! (Bit naïve of me really considering the nature of the work The Shannon Bradshaw Trust do!) Anita Edwards, one of my best friends and head at Partington Primary, set the challenge to the children in her school to plan and organise a fund raiser for The Shannon Bradshaw Trust. The story of Ben’s Bike Ride and his video has touched the hearts of our family and of The Shannon Bradshaw Trust. His video can be seen here . So far this boy has raised £585 and looks set to win the competition to raise the most. I have asked Anita if I can go in and visit him to personally say thank you because I am quite literally blown away. My mum would have been in tears watching this video because this is exactly what she wanted, children involved in charity events and thinking of others less fortunate than themselves. In this day and age where young children can get a bad press for being on social media and playing computer games, this young boy has shown that children are inspirational people with big hearts. These are the stories that should make headline news!

Anita has also sent me a picture of some ribbons, made at home, by a little girl in her school. She then brought them into school to sell them for The Shannon Bradshaw Trust. Simply amazing! anitasI’d have bought one too but they all sold out! The final amount raised by Partington Primary is coming through soon, the deputy head Naomi Parkinson is extremely excited and I look forward to giving them an invitation to the Mad Hatters’ Ball on June 13th to say thank you!

So now it’s time to lead by example and get involved in the fund raising myself. Alex has challenged me, her and Ben, to climb Mount Snowdon on May 16th dressed in a Mad Hatter theme. So with some other friends and their children we will be doing just that. Photos and the post to follow but if you want to sponsor us you can do at https://www.justgiving.com/madhattersclimbsnowdon/ The school where I am deputy is also planning a Make a Difference (MAD) week for different charities with The Shannon Bradshaw Trust being one of them. There are lots of great things in the planning and this will take place week beginning 8th June!

If you know any children planning activities to raise money for The Shannon Bradshaw Trust, please let me know on here by leaving a comment and I’ll celebrate them in a post.