Thank you for all your support

I must begin by thanking everyone yet again on behalf my family for all the messages of support over the last week since we consecrated the memorial to Carol only last Monday – it already seems so long ago.  It meant a great deal to be surrounded by so many family and friends – and it was very fitting to see how Carol touched each and every one.  In the consecration service we heard the words “woman of worth” describe Carol and I would suggest that these words have never been so appropriate.

With his agreement, I’d like to share with you a note from a friend who attended the consecration.  Mark raised a great deal for his local hospice and he wrote, “It was good to see you all at the stone setting and witness your words about Carol.  How true all the comments were about a woman who had great positive impact on all around her, without shouting, or drawing attention to herself she was remarkable…..You fit like a two piece jigsaw.  Jack, Carol is still with us, you are her legacy and your inspiration keeps her with us all.

I thought you would want to see what Naomi House have published.

http://www.naomihouse.org/news/fyfes-hair-cut/

Thank you for these kind words, Mark and even more thanks for all your work to help Naomi House.

I visited York on business yesterday and it was good to meet up with friends and colleagues at Fera and to thank them personally for all their help and support.  The laboratory had a busy day on Hair for Hospices day and raised over £2,000 for St Leonards, their local hospice.

I have now been dragged kicking and screaming to the altar of Facebook and persuaded that I must add this to my list of ways to tell everyone about Hair for Hospices as we move forward to plan for next year.  Please feel free to visit:

http://www.facebook.com/HairforHospices2012

and leave your comments, stories and photos.  Any suggestions to help a real beginner use this would be much appreciated!

I don’t expect to be able to write another blog for a few days as the Jewish New Year starts on Sunday evening and I will have much to prepare before then – but I was given a honey cake last night so that is one thing less to do!  May the coming year bring us all peace, health and happiness.

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Time to start working on Hair for Hospices 2013

Yesterday was a very emotional day for my family as we consecrated a memorial stone at Carol’s grave.  Despite holding the ceremony on a Monday, a working day, we had a much larger attendance than we expected – another sign, if it was needed, of the love and respect in which Carol was held by so many from all around the UK and abroad.

On Sunday, I attended the wedding of the son of some friends from Reading.  Carol absolutely insisted that our family life should be as normal as possible without her, but attending the wedding of my brother a week ago and then another wedding only hours before her memorial consecration really challenged me and the family.  Imagine then our surprise to see the bride and groom attend the consecration service on their first day of married life.  I am truly grateful to them for making such an effort.  We also had many messages of support and comfort from those unable to be with us on Monday.  To each and everyone, thank you for your support.

I was recently asked to provide a guest comment on our loss and our family charity work for the in-house journal for my government department.  By pure coincidence, this was also published yesterday and I am grateful to those who have read my note and contacted me to tell me how this article touched them.

Standing by Carol’s grave yesterday I could not stop myself from wondering what Carol’s reaction would be to Hair for Hospices.  The event has gathered a massive following and is still attracting more interest.  Having just checked, we’ve now collected over £20,000 for UK hospices from the event – with perhaps another £3,000 still to be collected.  Add to that even more collected for hospices outside the UK and you will understand why I still find it difficult to believe just what we’ve achieved.  I am absolutely sure that my beshert (soul mate) would have found it equally as unbelievable.

Next week we see the beginning of the Jewish new year and the high holyday festivals.  This will be a difficult time for us, surrounded by friends with their families but incomplete without Carol playing her key role as the mortar binding us all together.

May you all be granted a year of health and happiness and I look forward to working with you all on Hair for Hospices 2013.

Our family target was met today!

When my family first thought of raising funds for the Duchess of Kent House hospice charity in Carol’s memory we spent some time thinking of the sum we might raise.  We very quickly decided how much we wanted to try raising by multiplying the daily sum the hospice needed to raise from charity by the number of days Carol spent there – a total of £35,000.

I clearly remember looking at the amount and thinking we could be pleased if we raised £10,000 and delighted if we raised £20,000.  I’m not sure we actually believed we could succeed in raising £35,000.  However, today that is exactly what we achieved – although some of that money raised is through Gift Aid (a form of tax refund to the hospice from the government).

From the very beginning of our appeal we have been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of so many people – family, friends, colleagues and complete strangers – all determined to give so selflessly in Carol’s memory.  I do not have the words to thank each and every single one of you for helping to keep us focussed on our wish to help keep the hospice open to help others as we were helped.

In January, only weeks after we lost Carol we agreed to take on a range of fundraising events but who could have predicted the success of Hair for Hospices?  Certainly not us.  Had I known what this would become I don’t think I’d have been willing to continue!  This single event has raised more than £18,500 for at least 25 hospices in the UK and this sum continues to rise.  In addition, hospices in many other countries around the world have benefited.  Just today I received a letter from Hospice Calgary, Canada in which they wrote, “Congratulations on your very successful fundraising event “Hair for Hospices”…What a wonderful gift that your successful event in the UK will also touch lives here in Calgary.  Thank you.”

Many tell me the appeal of the event is the inclusiveness of participation regardless of age or gender.  In addition, the event is entirely in the hands of participants who can raise funds to support a local hospice and see the benefit to that hospice.

My family is grateful to have been able to encourage others to join us to raise the awareness of the need for hospices.  Thanks again and bless you all.

Still learning of the impact of Hair for Hopices

I’ve just returned from a weekend in Glasgow with family and attending my youngest brother’s wedding.  I have to admit to attending the wedding with mixed feelings having lost Carol so recently and with the consecration of her tombstone next Monday.  However, Carol would have been the first to remind me that life must go on and the family must be placed first as it supports you in both good times and bad.

Over recent weeks I’ve spoken to many about the future of Hair for Hospices and ideas are now beginning to take shape for what promises to be a big event next year.  I hope to start telling you more about this over the next month or two as plans firm up.  In the meantime I’ve been checking on the impact of the recent event and am delighted to see that the national total for the event has now exceeded £18,300 collected, with about £3,000 still to be collected and donated to UK hospices.

I have only just seen a poster for the event prepared by the Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House and a copy of this is shown below.

I hope this helped them to raise some much needed support and funds and would love to hear more about this from them.

I’ve also just seen some lovely new photos of those who helped St Mary’s hospice on Hair for Hospices day and these are shown below.

Margaret Tucker’s theme was topical for the Olympics and Hair for Hospices and is topical yet again with the paralympics currently underway in London.  Well done Margaret and thanks for joining in.

Football also featured in the support for St Mary’s hospice, with blue and white wigs being the order of the day!

If you have any stories or pictures of Hair for Hospices that you would like to share with others please let me know.  I’d also welcome any thoughts you have on Hair for Hospices so that we can make it even bigger and better for the benefit of all hospices next year.