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The real story behind our ‘A Million Reasons to Smile” feature

Their accomplishment is testament to the commitment of the 33 volunteers, eight of whom were among the original team of 16 involved when the shop officially opened in April 1993.

A week or so ago I stumbled across a celebration and wrote an article about what I saw without really knowing much about the actual event. After our feature, Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity have kindly supplied us with the following article and pictures so that everyone can see just why they were celebrating.

A celebration marking the amazing achievement of The Harold Wood Volunteer Group, who have reached their £1 million target for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, which supports families caring for a seriously ill child, was a great success.

The volunteers, along with the Deputy Mayor of Havering, Cllr Dilip Patel, and Rainbow Trust staff, celebrated completing their One Million Campaign with prosecco and cake at the charity’s Harold Wood shop in Station Road on Wednesday (7 March).

               

The dedicated group reached their £1m target one month ahead of schedule and in their 25th Anniversary year after launching their campaign last September to increase the £950,000 they had already raised for Rainbow Trust since the shop opened 1993.

Rainbow Trust enables families who have a child with a life threatening illness to make the most of their time together. Through its nine care teams across England, including Essex, Rainbow Trust pairs each family with an expert Family Support Worker who helps them at home, in hospital and in the community, for as long as it is needed.

Rainbow Trust Patron and Harold Wood shop founder and manager Pauline Obee OBE said the event was a great success. “It was a very social, happy occasion in which the shop staff delighted in being with one another,” Pauline said. “It was very pleasant to be able to meet up and celebrate together with a drink and a slice of cake and celebrate the fact that we had achieved such a fantastic amount of money, £1million, and that we have been going for 25 years which is an amazing amount of time to have been working together.”

As well as volunteers in the shop, there is an outside events team comprising staff and a Friends Group who fundraise across Essex for families caring for a seriously ill child. Their accomplishment is testament to the commitment of the 33 volunteers, eight of whom were among the original team of 16 involved when the shop officially opened in April 1993.

The group was founded after Pauline and the late John Penrose heard an interview with Rainbow Trust’s founder Bernadette Cleary on the radio. Pauline embraced the opportunity to use an empty shop for three months and ran jumble sales there two days a week.

Oonagh Goodman, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Rainbow Trust, said: “We are thrilled that the celebrations went well and would like to express our thanks and gratitude to such a dedicated group of volunteers whose fundraising has made and will continue to make a vital difference to families across Essex caring for a seriously ill child.”

Rainbow Trust is a national charity providing expert practical and emotional support to families, where they need it, to help them make the most of each new day. It relies almost entirely on voluntary donations and thanks to the generosity of its supporters helps over 2,300 families through its nine care teams in England.

Words and photos supplied by Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity

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