Where it all began…
Back in 2006 a brave young lad called Alexander Devine sadly passed away after a four year fight with a brain tumor. Fiona and John his tireless parents had very little help and support during those difficult times and were wholly reliant on the limited resources of the local NHS Trust, which meant a nurse was required for as long as it took each morning to replenish Alexander’s drugs.
It was woefully apparent that there was nothing set up in Berkshire to help the families of terminally ill children to cope through these most horrible and stressful times so in 2007, in Alexander’s memory his loving parents devoted themselves to providing local care and support to families who find themselves in this sad situation.
For the last five years The Alexander Devine Charitable Trust has provided dedicated nurses to give assistance, advice and help to the many suffering families in East Berkshire and the surrounding counties. But their dream is to provide a place where respite care can be provided in a home away from home.
In 2013 the Trust was given a small piece of land on the edge Maidenhead and in October announced to a gathered media their intention to start building within a year a permanent four bed facility capable of giving the respite care so desperately needed.
Along with their patron Sir Michael Parkinson, many local people and companies have generously supported the Trust over the years, first raising enough for one nurse then a second, but the funds needed to build and staff the Hospice are in a different league altogether and the fund raising has to raise its game accordingly.
Since Penguins’ first involvement with the Alexander Devine charity back in 2008 I have always been moved by Fiona and John’s commitment to their cause and like many others have been inspired by their dream, though I am a little ashamed to say that I have done little to assist them achieve their goals.
Well that stopped in October 2013 with their pronouncement of the hospice build commencing in 2014, so I started thinking what can I do to help them in 2014 to raise the millions of pounds they need? And slowly a plan started to form… I shall grow a Beard!
For 365 days I am going to grow a beard, I will not trim and will only shave my neck (otherwise I may look like a tramp). From the 1st January to the 31st December 2014, each Wednesday I will post its progress and even just 8 weeks in it is already getting quite impressive. But…
This is not all, each month I will be following The Beard on a different highly physical challenge which I fear will take me to the brink of exhaustion at times and the edge of fear at others. I fully expect to be a broken man by the end of the year; I am 47 this year you know! I will be posting, tweeting and blogging for you all to see how my adventures proceed and will hopefully produce a Go-Pro video after each event so you too can relive the pain and the joy. I hope you will enjoy following my journey.
In order to keep your interest peaked I am not going to reveal all of the activities now, but I have based each one on a different discipline, swimming, cycling, running, sailing, climbing, hiking, kayaking, etc. and with any luck there will be surprise waiting at the end of the year.
To whet your appetite, the first 3 challenges are;-
February – 2500m Swim in 1 hour
March – The 100km Surrey Hills Cyclone Ride
April – The 200km Devizes to Westminster Kayak
What I ask from you is your support, encouragement and whatever you can afford in the way of a charitable donation! You can sponsor me per event if you wish or just as and when you think I have really deserved it, please be generous, share with your friends, whatever you can give will be greatly appreciated, after all I am putting myself through a considerable amount of pain/humiliation and what’s more it’s a really worthwhile charity…
Thank You very much for reading and hopefully your support!
You can follow me on my Facebook page, or twitter @beard_365,
or my blog at www.penguins.co.uk
to sponsor me visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/beard365,
to find out more about the Alexander Devine Charitable trust visit the website www.alexanderdevine.org/