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.

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.