It is 656 days since we lost Allegra and just over a year since Allegra’s Ambition’s inception. Allegra’s Ambition is a way for us all to celebrate and honour Allegra and we are grateful and proud that so many of you have taken up the challenge & come up with such innovative & interesting initiatives to fundraise or raise awareness. It really makes a difference and means so much to us. Our goal is for Allegra’s Ambition to improve as many children’s lives as possible – to have their lives lifted by Allegra’s values. We are making significant progress in moving Allegra’s Ambition forward. Here is an update on the last six months:
- For Allegra: There have been a fantastic range of fundraising activities over the last 6 months: – so many people have pushed themselves with extraordinary challenges.
- From Allegra: There have also been an exciting range of projects to improve the lives of young people who need help – and more are planned!
#RideForAllegra fulfilled one of Allegra’s dreams. Allegra and her friend Lucy Harley had planned for many years to ride their ponies on the beach together & both have spent their childhood summers holidaying on the Camel Estuary in Cornwall. This summer, with her mother Katy as fantastic back up, Lucy determined to ride her pony Wella from Princes Mead School in Hampshire to Daymer Bay, Cornwall to fulfil that childhood ambition.
Many of you will have followed her epic journey on Instagram and Facebook. So many people gave advice, time, beds, fields, and joined Lucy along the way. They had some extraordinary adventures – including being shown round William Fox-Pitt’s yard and welcomed into castles & beautiful estates – as they travelled 240 miles at 3mph for 28 days (that’s more than 9 marathons!). The photos were stunning & it hardly seemed to rain all summer. There was a lot of local press coverage as well as articles in Country Life & Horse and Hound. Lucy also featured on Radio Solent as one of ‘Julian’s People’. Ride for Allegra raised a staggering £9,000 – many donations came from people who she met along the way or who just heard about her ride through social media. A welcoming party met them on Daymer Bay to watch Wella canter along the beach at low tide – Allegra would have loved it. Thank you, Lucy, for taking Allegra with you all the way.
Caledonian Challenge: Amanda Howard, Allegra’s godmother with a team of six, took part in the Caledonian Challenge, a 24-mile hike along the West Highland Highway from Glen Nevis to Glencoe including a vertical climb of over 1,500 feet and the ominously named ‘Devil’s Staircase’. None of them had done any endurance events before but they did it in a very respectable time & raised an amazing sum – over £13,000.
Kilimanjaro: Emilie Janssen spent her Summer holidays from Uni training for and climbing to the top of Kilimanjaro. She took Allegra’s much loved stuffed dog Philomen along for the trip and raised £770. Philomen has acquired a taste for mountain climbing, having already been to Everest with Hayley Gaj in January, to Mount Snowden with Ashley & Giles and on the Caledonian Challenge with Amanda. Philomen is currently snoozing on Allegra’s bed but is always up for a challenge so do get in touch if you have any ideas for a new adventure for him! Thank you to Emilie and the all the other climbers. We are so grateful for your donations, time, energy and commitment.
St Swithun’s School chose Allegra’s Ambition as one of their charities for this year. Through cake sales, rock concerts & sporting events the school has raised over £2,300. In addition, Freya Brannigan & Molly Pickance organised a play & raised over £350. Their engagement and creative approach to fundraising is what Allegra’s Ambition is all about. The school year culminated in the Red Carpet Ball which alone raised £4,900 – we are so very grateful to the whole school community: pupils, teachers & parents who have all given so generously.
#AHintofTartan: Eleanor Nicholson, a good friend of Allegra’s from day 1 at St Swithuns, along with her family, hosted a wonderful evening of Scottish reeling. It was a special event attended by lots of Allegra’s friends. Eleanor gave a great speech & Allegra would have been very proud of her. Thank you Eleanor & everyone who came & donated. The evening raised £2,200.
This year the Hampshire Hunt Pony Club, where Allegra spent so many happy summers, made Allegra’s Ambition their charity and fundraised at their ball. In addition, through the summer, individual children supported us selling cakes, wristbands or sweets at various events. Thank you all of you for keeping Allegra in your thoughts and making such a contribution to Allegra’s Ambition not only through fundraising but also practically (but more of that later).
Sasha Good, a good friend of Allegra’s from Pony Club, followed in Allegra’s and Maddie Sturgess & Apple Mallory & Alex and Lucy Kellock footsteps and cut her hair to donate to the Little Princess’s charity which provides wigs for children with cancer. She also raised £600 for Allegra’s Ambition. Thank you, Sasha.
There was also an impressive amount of fundraising by Year 8s. Allegra’s cousin, Eddie, and his class mates in Year 8 at Sherborne Prep, used their end of year business project to fundraise for Allegra’s Ambition. In total they raised £500, which along with the sponsored bike ride he did with his class mates in 2015, will be used to run an Athletics event in April 2017 (see below).
Maddie Boissier and Aggie Roberts-Wests, also in Year 8, organised a fantastic PINK disco #danceforleggy. The tickets sold out in record time, they raised an extraordinary £2,000 and it was a lovely very PINK evening. There was so much thought in all the detail including pink drinks and #danceforleggy wristbands. Thank you to everyone especially Maddy and Aggie & their families for all their hard work & the Bentleys for kindly lending their beautiful barn for the venue.
Also in June, Alex Bradshaw, Sebastian Ellis, Jamie Beardmore-Grey & Joe Bentley from Year 8 at Pilgrim’s (where Allegra’s brothers went to prep school) decided to do the Three Peak’s Challenge with their Dads. Within 24 hours they successfully whipped up Snowden, Ben Nevis & Scafell Pike & raised a staggering £4,540. An amazing physical & fund raising challenge.
In September, Georgia Sugden, who knew Allegra at St Swithun’s, with a group of friends from Edinburgh university, took part in a Tough Mudder. Vere joined them with Harry Winterbottom & Georgie Revell. Georgia’s team raised £1,270!
Fitique, an independent fitness boutique in Alresford has been very supportive of Allegra’s Ambition. In May, they held an evening where the Performance Chef spoke to an audience on nutrition & the shop raised £240. The Hubble family donated 2 tickets to Wimbledon which were sold in aid of Allegra’s Ambition & another family generously bid for them. Ruth Warwick who looked after Allegra many years ago did a second fundraising event & their family cycle raised £230. Evie Blaxland spent the summer making and selling gorgeous bracelets pink for Allegra raising £60 – thank you so much.
We offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed to Allegra’s Ambition. Every contribution big or small is so valued.
Since our last newsletter Allegra’s Ambition has been involved in a number of projects:
We have been developing links with Ebony Riding Club throughout 2016. EHC is a riding centre based in the centre of residential estates in Brixton which teaches inner city children, including some very vulnerable young people, to ride and offers respite in their lives.
On 22 July, 25 young people from Ebony arrived at Herriard Park for a day organised by Allegra’s Ambition with the incredible support of Hampshire Hunt Pony Club. HH members donated their time & ponies for Ebony children to spend the whole day with – it was an extraordinary effort – to see so many HH children, happy to lend their ponies, helping and encouraging the Ebony children along with their parents and coaches – we were very proud of them. Ebony members enjoyed rides in the huge paddocks set up for the day, a barbecue generously donated by Newlyns as well as games of rounders & football at lunchtime. It was a fantastic day true to the spirit of Allegra’s Ambition. The feedback from Ebony was very positive, and we hope will be this day will be the first of many. We have already set a date for the day for next year of Monday 24 July 2017 – please put it in your diaries.
In October, a group of Allegra’s friends and family, including many HH members, visited Ebony for the opening of Allegra’s Paddock, a much needed piece of grazing created at Ebony, an extension of their existing facility in Brixton, with land lent by Lambeth Council and fenced by Allegra’s Ambition. There was a tour of the riding centre, riding demonstrations and the chance to meet and talk to many of the young people who ride at Ebony before the official opening. Everyone who attended was truly inspired by the fantastic work of the charity and by the enthusiasm of all the members we met. There is a beautiful plaque commemorating the paddock named after Allegra for all to see. We are continuing to look at ways we can develop our partnership with Ebony. If you want to find out more, please go to visit the Ebony website. www.ebonyhorseclub.org.uk.
In Hong Kong, Charlotte, another of Allegra’s aunts, following the success of last year, is planning another Fun Run on Lamma Island in HongKong. With funds raised from the HK community she plans to partner with a local charity The HubHK (http://www.thehubhk.org). They work with children who are below the poverty line, provide for them pastoral care, schooling assistance, music, dance, yoga, excursions and so much more. There is a huge community of children in HK who live in housing no bigger than a box, they do not get the chance to get into nature and many will not know what it feels like to walk on grass. The link up between Allegra’s Ambition and The Hub HK will hopefully provide a day of nature to as many of these children as possible.
We have spent lots of time thinking how best to take Allegra’s Ambition forward. Each charity we partner with must pass the Allegra test. We have several potential projects in the pipeline and are meeting with a number of possible partners before Christmas. We will be sending out more information in our next newsletter.
Allegra’s 18th birthday is in January. If anyone would like to commemorate the day, a contribution to Allegra’s Ambition would be a special way to support everything the charity is trying to achieve #forAllegra who is so desperately missed by so many of us every minute of every day.
Please follow us on Instagram & Facebook where we post regular news & updates. You can also view these posts on the website www.allegrasambition.co.uk if you don’t have a social media account. We are not as good at keeping the website as current, although we try our best!