Tony reaches halfway…

Last week we featured Tony Hudgell, who despite being a double amputee and only five years old, was walking 10km on his new legs to raise funds for the hospital that treated him. To see that feature click here. Tony is now over half way on his sponsored walk and his total is inching ever closer to the half a million pounds for the Evelina Children’s hospital. Tony’s original target was £500 and like his inspiration, Captain Tom, his challenge has been taken up by the nation and the money raised has grown beyond his wildest dreams.

To celebrate the half way milestone Tony was given a huge cake. There is definitely no better way to celebrate and give him energy for the remaining distance than with a big slab of cake. We will be keeping an eye on how the remainder of the walk goes and this is definitely a story that has grown and will in its own way be inspiring others in the same way that Tony was inspired by Captain Tom.

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Louise Minchin – not just a pretty face

Louise Minchin is one of the BBC Breakfast’s lead presenters and she is certainly an inspiration to many.

She has recently completed the Norseman Challenge, which is one of the toughest triathlons there is. She had to complete a two and half kilometre swim, then a 112 mile bike ride followed by a marathon. As if that wasn’t hard enough for the swim, she had to jump from the back of a ferry in the dark and swim to the shore. The cycling was mainly up hill and despite the challenge taking place in Norway, deal with the extreme heat. Minchin finished the race in 16 hours and 46 minutes. On the breakfast programme on the first day back after her challenge she paid tribute to her family who had helped her every inch of the way. She told viewers about the training and all of the hard work that she puts in and what drove her to success and the completion of the event. She competed for Britain in the World Triathlon Championships in 2015 despite lass than three years before not even knowing what a triathlon was.

Obviously being in such a high profile job gives her a chance to talk about issues that may affect her but not only her for example she very openly talks about the menopause. If high profile people like this can raise awareness and make it ok to talk about these things then people realise they are not on their own. She also inspires people of all ages to get fit and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. She was reported to say:

 “I certainly feel better and stronger than I did in my 20s, 30s and 40s. I might have wrinkles, but I’ve got muscles.”

All of these issues are real for so many people and bring them to light in this refreshing way will hopefully help people become more open about things and for it to be acceptable to have these discussions rather than hiding behind the taboo of years gone by.

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You are my Inspiration …

In our Banana Crumble Good News Stories we have on several occasions featured articles about high profile people doing something really special. This week Lewis Hamilton did just that.

Prior to the Spanish Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton had received a good luck Instagram video message from terminally ill Harry Shaw. Harry who is five years old has terminal cancer sent the message from his hospital bed. In the message he says

“Hello Lewis Hamilton. Good luck wining the race in Spain and thank you for the gifts. Lots of love from Harry and goodbye.”

Lewis had previously sent signed photos and a Mercedes cap to Harry. His parents said that the gifts had given their son smiles into what will be a short life. What did Lewis and Mercedes do to really bring a smile to Harry’s face? They transported one of their Formula 1 cars to his home along with the winners trophy from Barcelona.

Hamilton said in a message that Harry was his inspiration.

To read the whole article click here

So many people say that these top sportspeople only do good things to increase their profile and to bring good publicity but when you read the words and see the reaction and realise that all the gifts had been sent with no publicity then people do actually do things just because they are kind and can!! Lewis Hamilton, what an amazing gesture and Harry will certainly have had his day brightened by this. Harry’s family have set up a Just Giving page to try and raise money to help raise awareness and increase research into childhood cancers. The total for this fund has now reached over £100,000 thanks to the publicity and of course the generosity of Lewis Hamilton’s fans.

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Mark Ormrod – an Invictus Inspiration…

Whilst the 2018 Invictus Games may have finished, it is never too late to reflect on some of the incredible stories behind the competitors.

By way of background, the inaugural Invictus Games was held in London in September 2014 and was attended by over 400 competitors from 13 nations. In May 2016, Orlando in Florida hosted the second Invictus Games with 485 competitors from 14 nations taking part. In September 2017, Toronto hosted the largest Games yet with 540 competitors from 17 nations. This year the event was held in Sydney, Australia and one of the stand out athletes (amongst many) was Mark Ormrod.

Mark’s incredible story dates back to Christmas Eve 2007 when, after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) while in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, the then 24-year-old lost both legs and his right arm. His bloodied body lay still in the back of a military chopper. Thinking he was dead, medics stopped working on him and began focusing their attention on another injured Royal Marine.

“They were feeling for a pulse but I didn’t have one”, recalls Mark. “They tried putting intravenous lines into me but my veins had collapsed because of the blood loss and they put an oxygen mask on me, which didnt steam up or show any signs that I was breathing, so at that point they classed me as dead and then got to work on the other guy. Thats how brutal you have to be in that situation or else you could end up with two dead bodies. It wasnt until one of the medics walked passed me to get some equipment to go work back on the other guy that they saw my eye flutter, which meant my heart was still beating”.

That simple moment saved his life, but that life would never be the same again.

Mark woke up in a hospital in the UK a few days later. He was alive but his recovery would be a long and difficult process.

“I knew it would be hard but I had no idea how hard it would be. I was 24 when I got injured probably at the peak of my physical fitness. I thought I was invincible and then I strapped on a set of prosthetics a couple of months later and just walking on a set of parallel bars one time would wipe me out for the day and literally drain all the energy that I had and then I would have to go and rest. I had a lot of time to sit and think and contemplate and it was tough to take that in. One minute I’m as fit as you can be and the next minute I can’t walk five metres between some parallel bars because it wipes me out. That was a real low point for me and a real wake-up call to how difficult the whole rehab journey was going to be”.

Since the blast, Mark has helped inspire and motivate others by sharing his story.

Now, along with another former Royal Marine turned photographer, Matt Elliott, he is making a documentary about his life to show that nothing is impossible.

He first got into motivational speaking after working with charities.

“Because I was the first triple amputee in the UK, initially there was a lot of media interest”, he says. “I was then introduced to a lot of charities in the beginning that I didn’t know existed to look after people like myself and their families and they asked me if I would mind going to tell my story to some audiences to highlight all these guys and girls getting injured and a little bit about what the charities do. It terrified me at the beginning but I did it and started feeling more confident”.

Now he gives motivational talks around the world and hopes to use his documentary to share his message with an even wider audience.

The father of three says he wants to show the world what life is really like living with a disability, as well as support others, military or not, injured and able bodied, who may be struggling with some aspect of their life.

“We want to really go into the minute details literally from the minute I wake up in the morning; how do I get into the bath, how do I brush my teeth because these are the questions that people ask me all the time and these are the things that a lot of people don’t consider”.

On top of all of this was the training for the Invictus Games.  How did he do?  Well, very nicely thank you, claiming two gold medals in the indoor rowing events and then earned a further two gold medals and a silver in the pool. He was also awarded the prestigious Jaguar Award for exceptional performance, determination and dedication.

Well done Mark, you are truly an all round inspirational person.

Do you have a story to share or for us to investigate?

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John’s Crazy Socks

John’s Crazy socks is a father-son company which is inspired by John’s love of crazy socks. John was born with Down’s Syndrome and he is on a mission to spread love and happiness through socks!

Not only is this company trying to spread happiness, which is also Banana Crumbles mission, they love to give back! They donate 5 percent of their earnings to the Special Olympics and have created a series of Awareness and Charity socks and donate money from each pair of socks to causes like Down’s Syndrome and Autism Awareness, the Special Olympics and Breast Cancer Research.

They are continually expanding their range of socks, from Donald Trump to Bride and Groom socks. Why not take a look at some of their fantastic socks by visiting –

We would like to wish John every success with his business and we hope you carry on spreading your love of socks and putting a smile to people’s faces.




My Cystic Fibrosis Fundraising Story.

I live in N. Ireland and have been fundraising for CF since my daughter was born almost 26 years ago. My main fundraiser is the London Marathon and in 2017 I raised almost £38,000 at the London Marathon. My total raised over the years is £180,000. I was awarded a BEM at the Queens new years honours list in 2015 for my services to the CF Trust. I would do anything for my only child Rachel and all living with Cystic Fibrosis to try and find a cure. I won’t stop fundraising until the job is done. Rachel has a degree and a Masters in Psychology and is in her final year of doing a PhD in the same subject. My wife Eleanor and myself are so very proud of her marvellous achievements. She’s one very special young lady.

Message from Banana Crumble – Thank you for submitting your own personal story about your fundraising for the CF Trust – truly inspirational and we wish you every success in the future with your fundraising and hope that you and your family have a very happy and more importantly healthy 2018.


Happy Birthday Charlie – you are an inspiration!

Don’t you just love it when you read a story on social media and your heart just melts?

This is exactly what happened when our Banana Crumble Team saw the following tweet…

Isn’t it so inspirational that someone of 8 years of age has this sense of giving and understanding in his life that he wants to help support a charity that means so much to him and his family. This story had such close resonance with Banana Crumble, as our charity of the year is the Cystic Fibrosis Trust!

Thank you for being such an inspiration Charlie and Happy Birthday from all of us here at Banana Crumble!


Jack Petchey CBE – a living legend.

Who is Sir Jack Petchey?

Sir Jack Petchey CBE

Sir Jack was born into a poor working class family in the East End in 1925. He left school with no qualifications when he was 13. Sir Jack joined the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm in 1943 during the Second World War. He applied for Officer training but was unsuccessful. On discharge from the Navy he began working as a clerk for the Solicitor’s Law Stationary Society. When he applied for management training there he was told he would never make a businessman!

Sir Jack refused to give up! Investing his £39 discharge gratuity from the Navy, he bought his first second hand car and started a taxi business. He worked long and hard, overcoming  adversity and going on to become a multi-millionaire through his various business ventures, which have spanned from motor car dealing and garages to property, travel and investment.

Sir Jack Petchey’s taxi business

At 92 Sir Jack still comes to the office every day, but now it is his philanthropy that interests him most!

Since establishing the Jack Petchey Foundation in 1999, his businesses have given £100 million to support youth projects. What he ‘gives’ is greater than money though; the same entrepreneurial skills that he brought to his business have led to some really innovative schemes for young people.

Sir Jack seeks to increase young people’s aspirations by rewarding their achievements and encouraging them to take pride in what they have done. He brings communities together to really celebrate and ensure that the young people have a moment of glory and that their parents/carers/ teachers and youth workers are there to witness it.

He focuses on the positives rather than highlighting the negatives. Yes, young people face problems and challenges, but Sir Jack believes that if you focus on these you risk creating a negative spiral. Alternatively, if you reward success and help young people feel positive about themselves you can give them the confidence and aspiration to change, overcome adversity and live to their full potential.

Sir Jack wants to encourage young people to make a commitment and put the effort in, so his principle is 50/50 – ‘you make the effort and I will support too’! He can often be heard quoting the ancient Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.

He has written an autobiography called ‘50/50 Man’. Click here to read more and purchase.

In 2012, Sir Jack was awarded the CBE in further recognition of his services to young people.  This was presented to him, in front of 100s of young people, by Sir David Brewer, the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, on the behalf of Her Majesty the Queen. After the event, Jack Petchey Foundation work experience student Yasmin McIntosh interviewed Sir Jack about the Foundation and his CBE award. She says: “Speaking to Jack Petchey made me realise the passion and confidence he has in young people in today’s society. We should all be nurturing the talents we have as individuals, as well as supporting and encouraging those around us. By working together as a team we can pull each other through the hard times and focus on the good ones.”

In 2015, as Sir Jack celebrated his 90th birthday, he was able to reflect back on his successes. One of JP’s Achiever’s Network Members, Joanne Langthorne sat down to chat with him about how he had managed to make so much of life. To read the full article click here. In further recognition of his charitable work in 2016 Sir Jack was knighted.

More than anything Sir Jack believes that people should think of others and give back to society, no matter how small an act of kindness or generosity, he wants young people to know that in giving, you also receive and the world is a better place for it!

This emphasis on positive affirmation, self-belief, and the willingness to make an effort and to give to others are key to the development of the work of the Jack Petchey Foundation.

Pictures and words with permission from The Jack Petchey Foundation.