Jennie shares how she and her sister Sally, and colleagues from Lloyds Banking Group, have taken on a year of challenges to raise funds for Child Bereavement UK

In 2022 we began our mission to send a message of hope to those left behind by raising awareness of the incredible work that Child Bereavement UK does for children who have had experiences similar to ours.

Over the past ten years Sally and I have been unfortunate enough to lose both of our parents at a young age, an experience which I can only describe as the most overwhelming level of emotion you could ever imagine. It is something you cannot prepare for at any stage of your life and puts everything into perspective in an instant.

In 2022 we began our mission to send a message of hope to those left behind by raising awareness of the incredible work that Child Bereavement UK does for children who have had experiences similar to ours.

We pledged to undertake ten different activities throughout the year to enable us to maximise our chances of reaching our target of £15,000. We set up social media platforms to keep our followers up to date with our progress, and to let them know about upcoming events so they could get involved as much as possible to promote the charity. 

Our first challenge was the Colour Obstacle Rush in May at Kempton Park Racecourse. Sally and I ran the 5k course, tackling over fifteen obstacles whilst being pelted in paint! It was such a fun afternoon and a great way to start off our fundraising marathon, raising over £1,000. This was a great boost – making us feel everyone was behind us.

Next was the ArcelorMittal 80ft abseil at Stratford in June. Sally decided to sit this one out as heights really aren’t her thing, so I recruited my partner Tom to take on the challenge. And what a challenge it was! I was incredibly scared and there were moments when I felt I wouldn’t be able to do it. However, with a lot of encouragement from the team and spectators I managed to achieve it. I can honestly say this is one of my proudest moments because I was literally shaking! Another £1,500 in donations and we were making really good progress towards our target.

With my feet back on solid ground it was time to get the troops involved. Lloyds Banking Group hosted a virtual sponsored walk covering the distance from London to Athens. Colleagues walked, ran, cycled throughout August in their local areas tracking everything on Strava with some healthy inter-team competition. Over fifty colleagues took part achieving 3,800km collectively and raising £880 - an amazing effort!

It was back on the tarmac for Tom and me as we undertook the 5k inflatable challenge in September at Hertfordshire County Show, completing the course in an impressive 40 minutes. This was pretty difficult as the course includes over twenty inflatables, there were lots of runners, and it was an incredibly hot day. 

Fast forward a week for the big one - Sally and I hosted a charity evening at The Chigwell Marquees on Saturday 10 September. 160 guests gathered for welcome drinks before taking their seats for a three-course dinner and dance which went on until the early hours of the morning. We also took part in a good old-fashioned game of heads or tails with the chance of winning a bottle of champagne, raffle tickets were sold, and the evening finished off with live and silent auctions. I’d like to recognise all the companies and organisations who contributed a trip to Paris, afternoon tea at The Beaumont Hotel, players’ lounge tickets to a Tottenham football game, and even a bungee jump.

It was a pleasure to have Kavita and Ruth from Child Bereavement UK join us for the evening to say a few words about the incredible work that the charity does; there were many present with whom the charity’s purpose resonated. It was a very emotional but successful evening with over £10,000 raised. I could not be prouder of everyone who came to send that message of hope, it was truly so special.

As it stands, we have raised an absolutely overwhelming £17,298!! So what’s next? Event six took place in December when we hosted a quiz night in a local pub with a raffle to get those last-minute donations in before Christmas, raising a further £500!! During 2023 we will complete our final four events, so stay tuned as we race towards the big £20k.

If you have been inspired to take on a challenge for us, please visit our challenge events page, contact our fundraising team on [email protected] or call us on 01494 569048.