Tomorrow is the day!

Hair for Hospices 2013 starts tomorrow and it is hard to believe just how much it has developed since it was held last year.  I have spoken many times of how this event seemed to develop a life and grew beyond anything I could have imagined.  This has continued and over the coming month hospices around the UK and as far away as Brazil, Canada, Israel and the USA will benefit from activities held to support them.

When I attended a recent UN based meeting in the USA in August I was told many delegates would be following the initiative in some way in their own countries.  I feel very humbled that I have so many good friends and colleagues around the world who think this is important to them and their countires and I hope to hear that many hospices have benefited from this simple idea in 2013.  What started as a simple thanks on my part to our local hospice really has taken root and become important to many others.

One of my colleagues in the UK contacted me to tell me that he was approached to complete a questionnaire at work.  In return for completing this, the company asking for his time offered to make a donation of £70 to a charity of his choice.  He selected his local hospice to support Hair for Hospices and suggested that others approached in this way might like to think of their local hospice as the recipient for these donations – many thanks, Paul.  This is a simple way of making donations to a hospice at no cost to you and I hope others take this opportunity if they can.

East Lancashire Hospice has covered Hair for Hospices in the current edition of their newsletter (pages 4 and 5).  It seems that some people started hair related events early and I wish them luck with the campaign this month.

http://eastlancshospice.org.uk/news/2013/september/autumn-newsletter.html

Please let me know what you do for Hair for Hospices 2013 and I will happily share it with others.

Thanks again for all your support for hospices and bless you.

 

 

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Thank you to my friends and colleagues in Brazil for supporting Hair for Hospices 2013

I know that Hair for Hospices is popular with many individuals and hospices because it is so simple in concept and inclusive.  However, even now there is still the opportunity to leave me almost speechless when I learn how much it means to others supporting it.

Yesterday I received a message from a friend and colleague who is responsible for managing Microbioticos, a large analytical testing laboratory in Brazil.  Rodrigo personally supported the Hair for Hospices day last year and this year he has gone one better.  All employees in the company have been given a day of paid leave so that they can use the time to volunteer in a local hospice.  The scale and generosity of this offer is truly humbling and means so much more to me than a financial donation.  Thank you Rodrigo, your managers and all your colleagues.  Is it possible that in doing this you might be setting an example for other businesses to follow?

As I’m dealing with an international theme, I should mention that I’ve received a reminder about Hospice Care Week from Help the Hospices.  More details on this can be found on Twitter at ‏@HelptheHospices.

Please put 7-13 October 2013 into your diary and consider holding an event during this period for both this and Hair for Hospices. You can find out more about Hospice Care Week at http://bit.ly/17DpZQc

From here I will bring the blog to a closer and more personal connection.  My late wife Carol spent many years in Southport before moving to university and then leaving home.  Indeed, Carol’s mother still lives in Southport so I was pleased to hear that Queenscourt Hospice in Southport is keen to be involved in Hair for Hospices 2013.  They have produced the poster below and also featured the event on their website at http://www.queenscourt.org.uk/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=55:hair-for-hospices-2013&Itemid=86.  Please visit this site and if you are local to the area please join in!

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Thank you all again for your continued support and encouragement.  It would be wonderful if Hair for Hospices could continue to grow and become something very special for all hospices around the world.  With your help it could become just that.

 

Is it really a year today since Hair for Hospices 2013?

When I woke up this morning I was suddenly struck by two things.  The first is that today would have been our 30th wedding anniversary had Carol been spared.  This is a very sobering thought and brings floods of thoughts of how we had planned to celebrate this special day.  This was closely followed by remembering that one year ago today was the first Hair for Hospices day which was such a wonderful and fitting memorial for someone who was so passionate about supporting hospices and charity.

I have been incredibly supported by so many who want to see Hair for Hospices continue to grow to become a cause to support hospices all around the world.  The support last year year far exceeded anything I could have possibly imagined when I innocently said I’d shave off my beard to raise support for the hospices in which Carol died.

It is now less than two months until Hair for Hospices 2014 from 1 – 28 October and I am delighted to know that many hospices both in the UK and abroad will benefit from the cause.  It is particularly gratifying to know that some hospices are now working collaboratively in groups to use this theme to raise public awareness of the need for the service and care they offer.

Please let me know what you are planning and send me copies of any publicity and I will show it to others on this site.  Thank you all again so much for making this event such a fitting and practical memorial.

What are YOU doing for Hair for Hospices 2013?

The end of July is rapidly approaching so it is now only just over two months from Hair for Hospices 2013 which will be from 1 -28 October.  This blog now has readers in 64 countries, from Aizerbaijan to the USA and from the Maldives to Mongolia!  Thanks to everyone reading this for your support and I’d like to think that in some way this will help local hospices around the world in October.

I am having some very interesting discussions with hospices and individuals who would like to be associated with this cause and I’m more than happy to give you as much time as I can to help local hospices benefit from Hair for Hospices.

Some organisations have already launched their publicity campaigns and sent me the posters they are using for this.  Two posters for the event are shown below and I’d be more than happy to publish YOUR publicity material on my blog as I found last year that everyone takes a different approach and we can all learn from others and the effect is synergistic.

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As you can see from the above, some interesting ideas have been launched.  Please don’t forget the logo at the top of this blog is available in a range of qualities and can be freely used in publicity material.  I also have a good source of T-shirts and other materials using the logos – the larger the quantity we order collectively, the lower the unit cost.  What about providing Hair for Hospices “kits” for participants with a T-shirt or some other publicity material?

Thanks for reading this and I look forward to hearing from you if you’d like to do something for your local hospice.

 

Hair for Hospices workshop

This weekend I had the pleasure of accepting an invitation to deliver a workshop on Hair for Hospices to the National Association of Hospice Fundraisers annual meeting in Derry – Londonderry.  I was asked to talk about the journey our family had undertaken since we lost Carol in December 2011 and our charitable work for hospices.

I’m delighted to report that the workshop was well attended.  There was real interest in what we’ve done and what we are now planning for 2013.  In addition, it was really heartening to speak to other attendees who had not attended the workshop but still wanted to know more of our plans and adopt the event.

We are now well on our way to holding a major event from 1 – 28 October 2013 and it is particularly encouraging to see that hospices are beginning to form groups to mutually promote this event in their own individual ways.  As many said to me, the idea behind Hair for Hospices is so deceptively simple but completely inclusive, regardless of age, gender or background – everyone can do something to help their local hospice in a hair related way and the benefits are immediately apparent in the help given to local hospices.

Hard though it may be to believe, hospices in the UK must raise over £500m every year just to provide their invaluable support to patients and their families.  You can help by joining in and supporting your local hospice.  If you would like to help but don’t know how to do this please feel free to contact me at jacknobeard@aol.co.uk and I’ll be happy to discuss this further with you and put you in touch with your local hospice.

As the workshop was held in Northern Ireland, it is appropriate to mention that Sam Mitchell, a colleague and friend here raised over £900 including Gift Aid for his local children’s hospice in Northern Ireland for shaving of his venerable moustache as part of Hair for Hospices 2012.  Sam recently received a certificate for this and I’ve included this below.  It is a sobering thought that a relatively small number of individuals participated last year, each raising from hundreds to thousands of pounds for their local hospices.  Just imagine the difference we could all make to hospice funding with hundereds of individuals involved – and you don’t have to be in the UK to participate because Hair for Hospices is now spreading around the world!Sam_Mitchell

Thank you for helping us reach our target – but we’re not stopping yet!

It is difficult to believe that only a year ago my family decided to raise money for the Duchess of Kent House Charity to support the hospice in which Carol died.  We set what we thought would be an overly ambitious target of £35,000.  We met this target some months ago when UK Gift Aid was included.  However, we are now delighted to see that we have reached our target without Gift Aid included and this means we have raised £41,200 for the charity.  To this must be added the success of Hair for Hospices in 2012 which raised about £25,000 for UK hospices and up to £5,000 for non-UK hospices.

Even now, months after the Hair for Hospices day on 7 August 2012 I continue to hear of more participants who didn’t tell me earlier of their involvement.  Last week I spoke to a laboratory colleague who held an event with his colleagues on the day but forgot to mention his efforts to me.  To each and every person who did something to help thank you so very much.

A letter I received days ago from the Duchess of Kent House Charity has a message I’d like to share with each of you.  It reads, “Thank you again for your generous donation – you, your family and your phalanx of supporters really have made a real difference to this hospice and what additional and special services we can offer to our patients and their relatives.”.  This thanks is as much for you as it is for me so thanks again.  We couldn’t have done this without your constant encouragement and support.

We have now launched our event for 2013 and, with support from the National Association of Hospice Fundraisers and also Help the Hospices, it will run from 1-28 October.  I have been humbled by the support already expressed in the short time since we agreed the dates for the event.  For example, a number of groups of hospices around the country are now talking to each other about running joint events under the Hair for Hospices banner – something which is really exciting and which hasn’t happened before.  As some have said to me, the beauty of this event is the totally inclusive nature involving everyone regardless of gender, age or hairiness!  People are being encouraged to join in a growing national (international?) movement with a simple common theme for the benefit of their local hospice – something they can see benefit directly from their support.

Please feel free to contact me if I can help you organise something and let me know what you are planning for Hair for Hospices 2013.  I’ll happily pass on news of your event.

Anyone for cricket?

Time marches on and we’re now six days from the “big shave”.  Today brought quite a surprise at work when I connected to the Defra intranet.  There on the screen was an advert for Hair for Hospices as a banner on the home page and this served as a direct link to an article on the event!  I had been told that this would be featured but hadn’t quite believed it – now I have no choice.

I am also told that the event is about to feature on all screens on Reading Buses shortly, if it isn’t already there.

I am very grateful to Reading Buses for featuring this event so prominently and offering generous prizes to participants in the area.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that Sian Lloyd had agreed to help judge entries to the Reading Buses competition.  While writing this blog, Sian sent this photo.  Details of more judges will follow when I have them.

My IT colleagues at work have been working on setting up a webcam for Hair for Hospices next Tuesday.  They seem to be having some problems with the audio but I will give the link here and on Twitter as soon as I have it.  The current plan is for the weblink to be live for all to see from 12:00 – 13:00, with me being part shaved at about 12:30.  It will be a busy day!

Talking of a busy day, spare a thought for my son Michael taking part in the  Spartan Run on Sunday the 12th of August.  It’s a three mile (5k) course with lots of lovely obstacles like walls and ropes to climb, heavy things to carry or drag, rivers or streams, and, I understand, barbed wire to crawl under.  You can find more details and a fun video here: http://www.spartanrace.com/yorkshire-obstacle-racing-spartan-sprint-2012.html

Please support this activity by making a donation to our site at:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/kayfamily

One of my colleagues is a keen amateur cricketer and he would like to help Hair for Hospices by organising a cricket match.  The intention is for the gates to open at 17:00 to start play at 18:00 and all proceeds from the game will go to the Duchess of Kent House Charity.  If anyone would like to watch this match please contact Ken Stapleton on 01932 338456 for more details or email k.stapleton@vmd.defra.gsi.gov.uk

The match will be held at Westfield Cricket Club, Greenmeads, Westfield, Woking, Surrey, GU22 9QJ