As you may know, Cecily's Fund has six places in the one-mile swim at this year's Swim Serpentine. Last year was the first event - here are five great reasons why you should take the leap in 2017, swim the mile and fundraise for us!
1) It's Part of the London Marathon Family
Swim Serpentine is organised by the same team that run the UK's biggest and most successful fundraising event - the London Marathon. The Marathon has been running since 1981 and raises millions for charities every year - Swim Serpentine is just starting out, but has the same organisational powerhouse behind it. You can expect a fantastic, well-run event if you take part in Swim Serpentine on September 16.
2) Swimming Will Make You Stand Out from the Crowd
Running is the most popular activity for fundraisers, and while it's a great way to generate money it's also a familiar one. By signing up to swim a mile, you'll be doing something much less common: and that might make it a bit easier to get your friends and family to sponsor you.
3) It's Easier Than You Think
Swimming a mile outdoors can sound daunting, especially if you're not a regular swimmer. It's for that reason that you'll have to train to prepare yourself for this event. However, don't be put off - swimming a mile is definitely doable and easier than you think, as our 2016 swimmers discovered. The organisers also provide a training plan.
4) We've Got Your Back
While we can't be in the water with you on the day, Cecily's Fund can support your fundraising efforts. We'll promote your fundraising page on all of our social media channels, sharing any posts of your own. We'll also link to your page from our website, and spread the word in any other way we can. We can advise you on how best to fundraise, and we provide a fundraising pack full of helpful tips.
5) Your Fundraising Changes Lives
Every pound you can raise for Cecily's Fund by taking part in Swim Serpentine will really help us to change lives in Zambia. Just £50 is enough for us to keep a child in school for a year, and £250 can enable us to provide five small business grants - helping young people get a business off the ground and secure a vital income for themselves.
At the 2017 London 10K Run organised by Virgin Sport, Cecily's Fund supporters once again hit the road to raise money for our life-changing work in Zambia.
This year, there were 12 runners in our team - many of them drawn from Southborough High School who have been fantastic supporters of Cecily's Fund in recent years. “Running the London 10k for Cecily’s Fund was amazing from start to finish", says headteacher Niall Smith. "Thoroughly recommended!"
Our other runners included veteran of the 2012 event Henrietta Hill, Ellie Rogers (whose mum is our Chair Steph Harland), and Cecily's cousin Harriette Peel who shared her thoughts on the day:
"The British 10K was a great experience and one that I'm very proud to have completed on behalf of Cecily's Fund. I did it in 56m 22s, which for a first attempt and in pretty high temperatures I'm very proud of! But more than anything, I was struck very strongly by what a privilege it felt to be physically capable of running a race like this at all.
Consequently, the opportunity to use my own health and physical fitness to raise money for those who aren't as fortunate was one that I am very grateful to Cecily's Fund for. Thanks to all the team for their support, and I very much hope that my small contribution will be of use to this fantastic charity."
In total, our wonderful runners have raised almost £2,500 for Cecily's Fund this year - enough to help keep 50 children in school for a year, or to train over 30 Peer Educators. To all those who took part in the 10K or donated to our runners' JustGiving pages - we can't thank you enough!
If you've been inspired by what our runners have achieved and if you feel at home in the water, we have the perfect fundraising opportunity coming up in September! The Swim Serpentine is its organised by the makers of the London Marathon and 2017 is the second year for this fresh new event. To register your interest, fill in our form today - it only takes a minute, and taking part could provide children in Zambia with years' worth of education.
Jon Hurley is a longstanding supporter of Cecily's Fund. He knew Cecily when he too was in Zambia in 1997. Today, he works at the Cardiff office of the professional services firm WYG. Over three days at the end of June, Jon and his colleagues tackled Wales' 3 Peaks Challenge, raising money for Cecily's Fund as part of WYG's "High 5" fundraising scheme. The challenge has raised over £600.
After a few well-earned beers on a Friday night in January, I mentioned that I heard of some people who climbed the Welsh 3 Peaks – Snowdon, Cader Idris and Pen Y Fan – over a couple of days, but also cycled between them. After a couple more drinks the plan was hatched.
We travelled to Bangor on Thursday 30 June by train, with a support van which brought all the bikes, equipment, energy drinks and crate loads of lycra. After a couple of beers on the train (you may have noticed a common theme here!) some bright spark came up with the idea of cycling from the train station in Bangor to Llanberis, where we were staying.
As I pointed out, technically the challenge was to climb the 3 Welsh Peaks, and cycle between them, so any cycling before or after a mountain was outside of the challenge! This was laughed down so after the train pulled into the station at 10pm, and we had waited 10 minutes for the van to turn up off we set.
The following morning the rain and wind which Wales is famous for greeted us as we stepped outside. The cycle from Llanberis to Snowdon was pretty tough in the conditions and this was much the same for the walk up the mountain. After a quick coffee and pasty in the café on the top where the views were non-existent we headed back down. We then had a great descent into Porthmadog where we stopped for a mid-afternoon tea and sandwich. It was then onwards past Harlech Castle and we finally made it to Dolgellau at around 6.
Left: at the summit of Cader Idris. Right: Harlech Castle.
The sun was out on the Saturday and we could not have asked for better conditions as we walked up Cader Idris. This was the hardest mountain of the 3 but in terms views it was absolutely stunning. We even managed to catch the last 5 minutes of the British and Irish Lions second rugby test against New Zealand and it was great to hear them win.
Morale was high as we came off the mountain – however we bumped into a couple of lycra clad fitness fanatics who happened to be doing what we were taking 3 days to do in only 24 hours! With a strong headwind against us we then cycled off to Machynlleth for some much needed supplies before the long and extremely steep climb to Staylittle. It was then a shortish ride to the Elan Vale for the night. We managed to find a local hotel for a great meal, but we were so tired and hungry that we ate on the way to the accommodation – we weren’t too sure what the locals made of 12 sweaty middle aged men sat in lycra eating a 3 course meal!
For the last day of the trip, after some overnight rain, the sun was out again. We made good progress to Builth Wells and got to Brecon for lunch time. Alter a quick sandwich looking over the local canal we tackled the last big climb to the foot of Pen y Fan. Steeling ourselves with a 99 ice cream, the walk up and down Pen y Fan took only one and a half hours. For some of us the trip was now over and we drove back to Cardiff, however the real hard men in the group they decided to tackle the extra 40 miles back home.
Thank you so much to Jon and his team for taking on this fantastic challenge! If you'd like to donate, the team's fundraising page is still open. We're always looking for supporters to fundraise for us and we have places available in the 2017 Swim Serpentine. Interested? Contact us!
A beautiful set of notelets with five different designs is the latest product to be added to the Cecily's Fund shop, with all proceeds supporting our work in Zambia.
Each featuring a striking photograph taken during the supporters' trip to our programmes in July 2016, the new notelets come in packs of ten. There are two copies of each design within each pack; the notelets are blank inside for your message, and come complete with envelopes for just £3.50 per pack.
Buying and using these notelets is a fantastic way to not just support our work, but also share it with your friends and family. As with our Christmas cards, information about our work as well as our contact details is included on the back.
Our notelets are available now from the Cecily's Fund shop.
Help us celebrate two decades' of work in Zambia by adding to our impact in 2017
This year marks 20 years since the establishment of Cecily's Fund, and our celebrations have already begun! In the two decades we have been working in Zambia, we've made an huge impact. With your support, we've helped thousands of children attend school, receive vital health information, and enjoy broader opportunities to succeed.
In 2017, there's no better way to mark how far we've come than by continuing to move forward. The need for our work is still very real and children in the communities we work with face continue to tremendous challenges on the road to education and independence. That's why our aim this year is to raise an additional £20,000 to help us make our biggest impact yet.
However much you can donate or raise towards our £20,000 target, you'll be supporting a whole range of Cecily's Fund activities which are changing lives right now. From providing a nutritious lunch to vulnerable children in community school to helping businesses get started, your support really counts where it's needed.
Some supporters have already made an inspiring start to our fundraising. Verity and Tim took on the first-ever Swim Serpentine last September and raised over £2,000; while Kate competed at the World Triathlon Championships, raising £750. We'll be sharing some similar exciting opportunities during the year - but you can raise a great amount by doing something as simple as a coffee and cake event, exactly as Mary did. For a host of tips, download our fundraising pack today.
An annual celebration of our work, Cecily's Day is always a special event. Last year (pictured) was the final instalment to take place in Stonesfield, and in 2017 Cecily's Day will be the culmination of our 20th anniversary year. At St. Mary's Church in Witney - very close to the Cecily's Fund office - supporters will have the chance to hear from our staff and patrons at a unique gathering to mark two decades' of our impact together.
Back in our Summer Newsletter, we described this month as a "Super September" in terms of fundraising for Cecily's Fund by our supporters - and that's what it is turning out to be!
On Saturday 24 September, Super September will see its culmination when two Cecily's Fund supporters - including Cecily's sister Verity - take on the first-ever Swim Serpentine in central London. You can read lots more about their amazing efforts in our news story.
Basil Gets the Wheels Turning With "Ride and Stride" [Donate]
This very special month of fundraising began with the efforts of our co-founder Basil Eastwood (pictured, left). On September 10, he took part in the 2016 edition of "Ride and Stride", cycling between 20 Oxfordshire churches. Basil's efforts raised money partly for Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust (OHCT - of which Basil is chair) and partly for Cecily's Fund. He has raised an amazing £1,200 so far - of which half will go to Cecily's Fund.
Marc Hits the Road, London to Brighton [Donate]
Just a day after Basil's cycle, another one took place. On September 11, supporter Marc Monsarrat (pictured, right) rode the popular and challenging route from London to Brighton, once again raising money for Cecily's Fund. At the completion of his journey Marc was met by his family, including his wife Veronica - a Cecily's Fund trustee, Cecily's cousin, and our first-ever employee. To date, Marc has raised over £1,000. "I did it!", Marc said of the day. " A lovely day of brilliant sunshine, only one puncture, a fun pit-stop lunch with Veronica and Eva, and a restorative burger on Brighton beach in front of a glorious sunset.”
Kate Takes on the World in Mexico [Donate]
Maybe the most exciting of all the fundraising events in September is that of Kate Williams, who we have been talking about for a few months now. Kate took part in the first-ever London Marathon back in 1981 but in the last few years has taken up a new hobby: triathlon. To her surprise, Kate qualified to take part in the ITU World Championships for her age group in Cozumel, Mexico. The event took place on September 15 and while Kate wasn't happy with her time, she said "thanks to everyone who sponsored me and gave to Cecily's Fund." So far, she's raised £750.
Thank you so much to all our amazing fundraisers! If you're inspired by what they have done this month, please consider sponsoring them and helping us make a terrific impact in Zambia. Even better, why not find out how you can take on an event of your own?
On Saturday September 24, two intrepid Cecily's Fund supporters will take on the first-ever Swim Serpentine event, raising money for our life-changing work in Zambia.
The culmination of our Super September of fundraising events, Swim Serpentine is a new mass-participation swim created by the minds behind the London Marathon. Together with thousands of others, Cecily's sister Verity Eastwood-Dewing (pictured) and Tim Cooke-Hurle will swim one mile in the Serpentine, the lake within London's iconic Hyde Park. "I'm going to swim a mile around the Serpentine for Cecily's Fund", Tim says, "because it's a great cause that helps thousands of kids."
Verity and Tim have been training hard for this challenging event, and their fundraising has got off to a great start - together they've raised over £1,400 for Cecily's Fund; enough to train 18 our of Peer Educators, or to send around 14 children to school.
To give our swimmers some extra encouragement and to help boost their impact in Zambia, please consider sponsoring them:
Verity, Tim and Cecily's Fund would hugely appreciate your support. What we're calling Super September has already seen our co-founder cycle around Oxfordshire, supporters Kate and Marc take on the triathlon world championships in Mexico and cycle from London to Brighton, respectively. Collectively, these events have raised almost £4,000 for our work - an amazing total. Please support Verity and Tim and help us make an even bigger splash in Zambia!
Once again, an intrepid group of runners took on the British 10K London Run on July 10. So far, they have already raised over £3,250 for Cecily’s Fund.
The British 10K London Run once again played host to some stellar athletic and fundraising efforts in 2016. Cecily’s Fund supporters have been a part of this event for many years, and this year’s team have again done us proud.
Southborough High School contributed a number of runners again this year, after joining us for the first time in 2015. Cecily’s sister Philippa and her husband Louw also took part, each bringing along some of their colleagues to join in. The Doughty Street Dashers, the running team from Doughty Street Chambers of which Philippa is a part, have their own long history of running the 10K for Cecily’s Fund.
So far, the runners have collectively raised over £3,250 for our work in Zambia - a fantastic total which will help to make a huge difference to the lives and futures of young people in Zambia. Cecily’s Fund is extremely grateful to everyone who took part and who sponsored our amazing runners!
Visit our Fundraisers' Pages
A Cecily's Fund team will once again face the British 10K London Run on July 10. For the second year running, a contingent from Southborough High School in Kingston-upon-Thames will be involved - but all 18 runners will be doing everything they can to raise money for our work in Zambia.
The British 10K London Run is a special event each year for Cecily's Fund. It's one of the longest-standing events in our fundraising calendar, and certainly in which our supporters have most consistently been involved with. On July 10, another team of 18 will take on this event to raise money for our work - and as usual, we have a mix of familiar and new faces this year.
In 2015, a group of staff from Southborough High School joined our team and raised a great total. This year, Southborough are joining us again, with some runners looking to improve on their time from last year. Some team members have begun their fundraising, with the rest soon to follow:
- Southborough High School [Donate]
- Camilla Darling [Donate]
- Jenny Box [Donate]
- Caitlin Scheybeler [Donate]
There is now less than three weeks until the big run on July 10, and while sponsorship pages will remain open afterwards, now is a great time to give our runners a boost. Please consider visiting one of their pages today and supporting both our brilliant team and our essential work in Zambia.