Nic Willoughby Fund Newsletter: April 2020
Like many of us currently, I find myself using the COVID-19 lockdown as a chance to spend time on things I usually wouldn’t, whether this be reading more books, cycling or clearing out parts of the house. However, this weekend, on what would have been Nic’s 24th birthday, has given me the opportunity to reflect on the incredible achievements of the Nic Willoughby Fund in the 18 months since Nic’s passing. Establishing a regular newsletter for the NWF has been one the aspects of my role which I have been looking to start this year. So today provides a timely opportunity to do so. I hope you enjoy having a read of this, and always reach out to us for anything!
If you had told me 18 months ago, when we set-up the fund, that we would have raised over £30,000 at this point I would have laughed. But with the combined efforts of the individuals closely involved with the fund, the co-ordinators at Heart of Bucks, and all the selfless donors who have generously parted their time and money to raise money for the NWF, I thank you. If I were to list everyone who has played a part in the NWF it would go on and on, you know who you are. Please continue to play such a massive part in the NWF, be part of the journey which is aiming to elevate this fund to the top and establish a legacy for Nic.
It’s impossible to pinpoint an event which stands out to me, all have been so unique in their own way and have inspired us for future events. I often use the Quiz Night (our first event) as a foundation to what an NWF event should be about. It’s in our DNA as a charity to create events which celebrate the achievements of the fund, events which Nic would have loved to attend and be a part of, and to cater to all ages. I’d like to think we have been successful with this; the feedback would suggest so. We are learning from previous experiences, and when it’s possible we’ll be right back to doing what we love.
We must also highlight the efforts of individuals, groups and businesses who have supported the NWF’s fundraising efforts. Thanks to those at Nuffield Health who raised thousands towards the fund, and were able to place a bench in the club gardens for members and staff to take a moment with Nic. Chandler Garvey, one of our key sponsors, who have donated upwards of £8,000 towards the fund, helping us with cash for events and general donations. More recently, Aylesbury Vale Athletics club for their “Marathon” event, everyone who dropped a green token in Waitrose, and a little shout out to Ben Sykes who single-handedly organised our Race Night.
At the time of us establishing our criteria for donations, we always knew that Nic would have wanted us to support clubs in the local area as he would have likely to have played there! We initially donated £500 to a handful of local clubs where Nic played during his youth including Nap Hill Football Club, Bledlow Cricket Club, and Chearsely Cricket Club which helped fund a new scoreboard.
Twice a year, myself and a couple others meet with Heart of Bucks to work out where we should donate. Heart of Bucks are a crucial part of the donation’s element. They organise and manage applications, supply relevant documents to us and then make the donations on our behalf, I cannot thank them enough for their support and helping us realize our ambitions as a fund.
In February myself, Albert Chandler and George Dalziel met with a grants panel at Heart of Bucks to discuss some recent applications, I’m delighted to say we’ve donated circa £2,000 to a mix of sports clubs including a bowls club, tennis club and football club in the Buckinghamshire area. Only time will tell with the effect of Coronavirus having on sports clubs with limited financial resources, I’ll be having a call later this week with the Grants Officer at Heart of Bucks to discuss a bit of a strategy. In the meantime, if you are or know of any small local clubs struggling with financial resources, please reach out to us.
A look into the future
As you may know, and probably guessed, we’ve had to postpone our Summer Ball. Depending on the situation, we may look into the Autumn as a potential new date. We have plans to host another Cricket Tournament, but again the safety of our attendees has to come first when planning events. Please keep an eye on our social channels and website for details on these.
I am also pleased to announce we have started communications with CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) to organise free cardiac screenings for young people in the local area. This has significant meaning to us as a family, to provide the opportunity for someone to detect an underlying heart issue means so much to us, it will hopefully mean that no family should have to go through the tragedy of losing someone at such a young age. We had initially planned to try and organise these for summer 2020, but these plans will unfortunately be suspended until 2021 at least.
A final note
We are going through a once-in-a-generation global pandemic, this is something no one could have ever envisaged at the beginning of the year. But please stay safe, abide by the government guidelines and support the incredible NHS workers who are cementing this country as I write this.
There may be very limited positives in life right now – can’t see loved ones, holidays cancelled, career uncertainty, to name a few. However, this has inspired to me #ThinkYellow. No matter how many challenges life throws at you, always have a bright and positive outlook on things. It’s the fundamental element of the Nic Willoughby Fund, losing Nic has been one of the hardest tests, but as a result we’ve created an inspiring legacy, maintained our focus in the toughest of times and supported local grassroots sport, a cause dear to Nic.
I hope everyone stays safe during these challenging times, remember to always #ThinkYellow
Chairman of the Nic Willoughby Fund