charity

All posts tagged charity

A couple of weeks ago I told you about the new fundraising initiative for Trinity Hospice, Get Together.  As one of Alfie’s charities (he is patron), his fans are more than happy to support Trinity in their annual push to raise £5 million and this year was no different, with a number of fans ‘getting together’ to raise money by taking part in an Alfie Boe YouTube marathon.  Held over the weekend, lots of fun was had by watching various videos and donating (a perfect excuse to sit and watch Alfie!).  The event started with a boost as Alfie had very kindly sent us a message wishing us well:

Thank you so much for getting together to raise money for Trinity. As a Patron, I hold the Hospice very dear to my heart and your contributions will ensure their brilliant work continues – good luck with the marathon! Lots of love Alfie x

 

 

Thanks Alfie – we did really well, raising an amazing £442! Wow!  Thank you to everyone who took part and donated – Trinity are absolutely thrilled with the amount.

The videos that ended up in the playlist (all fifty one of them!) can all be found here:

The YouTube marathon is ended now but if you would still like to donate to Trinity in Alfie’s name then click here.

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As fans of Alfie Boe we are aware that he supports several charities that are close to his heart and one that we have recently heard from is Trinity Hospice, the hospice supporting adults and children on the Fylde Coast which is where Alfie is from.

At the unveiling of Alfie’s blue plaque at the Marine Hall, Fleetwood, Shirley Morgan from the hospice told us about Alfie’s support, both public and private and told us what that means for them, particularly for their fundraising abilities.  Supporting adults and children on the same site, each year Trinity needs to raise £5 million to keep going and they are always looking for new ideas.  The past few years have seen them run Trinity tea parties, with Alfie himself urging everyone to “put the kettle on and raise money for Trinity” and this year they are running a similarly themed event, Get Together.

As patron, Alfie is wholeheartedly behind this new initiative and says

There’s nothing I enjoy more than a get together with friends and family. The weeks I spend on the road makes family time so precious – and I’d ask everyone having their own get together this summer to think about supporting Trinity and Brian House by doing a little bit of fundraising at the same time – that makes it a real win-win.

Click here for a fundraising pack but here are just some of the ideas already:

sizzling summer BBQ

themed dinner party

girly lunch or boys night in

evening of G&T or cocktails

family garden party

movie marathon

thoughtsofjustafan will be hosting an online Alfie on YouTube marathon over the weekend of 15-16 July – click here to join in the fun!

 

 

Alfie Boe and Michael Ball last night bid farewell to their very own summer of love at the first night of the 2017 Greenwich Music Festival and as with the other dates, held the audience in the palms of their hands.  The title of this piece is Summer of Love and it’s been a joy to see so much love surrounding this tour of outdoor venues; love for Alfie and Michael from fans and on social media, love from Alfie and Michael for the fans and also the almost epic scale bromance between the two. This may be the first show of this tour that I’ve seen but I’m sure that Alfie and Michael have not missed any opportunity to spread the love and gratitude to fans and each other for the absolutely fantastic year they’ve had.

Although Greenwich was my only show of this tour, I’m so glad that I was able to be there for the last one – last nights are very special and I wasn’t disappointed.  How could I be when my favourite song, Keep Me In Your Heart (come on, you know my favourite line by now!) was included, along with last year’s Best Alfie Boe Live Song, Run.  Of the rest of the changes, I was most impressed by Luck Be A Lady (from one of my favourite old style musicals) and of course the addition of One Day More to the end of the Les Mis medley – just when you think Alfie can’t get any better, he does.  At this rate, I’ll need to research lots more superlatives with which to describe Alfie’s voice – for now, I’ll just say that for me, he was perfection last night.

The song that surprised me the most was the encore of You’ll Never Walk Alone which I have never really felt an emotional connection to.  Last night though, the theme of unity and standing strong through adversity spoke to me and the tears came.  Michael had earlier spoken very movingly about the troubled times we find ourselves in and it strikes me that You’ll Never Walk Alone is the perfect song to reflect our unity and strength – none of us have perfect lives, after all, despite what we say on social media!

Earlier in the day, Alfie and Michael had presented an award at the 02 Silver Clefs in aid of Nordoff Robbins and Alfie, an ambassador for the charity, spoke a few words during his solo slot about their work – click here to find out more about music therapy from Nordoff Robbins.

Now if all this sounds somewhat sombre, the concert did contain the usual amount of humour from these two likely lads, as can be seen from the beginning of A Thousand Years – rear of the year anyone?

Alfie and Michael’s Summer of Love may be over for the time being but it won’t be long until we see them again for Together Again 2017 and before that, Alfie will of course be seen as Jimmy in Classic Quadrophenia (click here for tickets).  Until then, we’ll have to be content to send the boys all our love – we’ve loved these two weeks!

Special thanks to Linda Wellington for taking such fabulous videos for us all to share and to my two reviewers, Cecelia and Barbara.  And I must give a special mention to the Boe Buddies I had the good fortune to spend the Greenwich concert with, particularly Margie who is here from Australia via Paris.

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Alfie Boe fans love to keep up with all things Alfie and one of the things that they often ask about is the charities he supports.  Alfie is either an ambassador or patron of several charities but one that is particularly close to his heart is the Trinity Hospice, located on the Fylde Coast.  Serving both adults and children, Trinity relies on fundraising to find all the £5 million annual costs.

Alfie became a patron several years ago after being approached by the fundraising team to see if he would consider becoming an official supporter of the hospice.  Alfie of course hails from Fleetwood – just up the road from the hospice – and press officer Shirley Morgan says they “were absolutely thrilled when we got not only a ‘yes’ , but the news that he would become a Patron”.  Since then, Alfie has supported Trinity with public messages of support which generates a lot of interest both locally and around the world; an example of this is the Trinity Tea Parties of the last couple of years in which Alfie urged everyone to “put the kettle on” raise money.  This aspect of Alfie’s support is crucial as donations increase dramatically whenever Alfie supports them publicly.  There is an increase in activity, which can be traced back to Alfie supporters who are a fabulously loyal bunch.  Many fans see it as a way of giving something back to a performer who brings them so much joy, and Trinity are very grateful for their generosity.

Aside from the public messages of support, Alfie also takes time to support Trinity in less obvious ways.  One such way was about a month ago,  when Shirley Morgan had a call from the nurses at the hospice to say that one of the patients – a long time Alfie fan – had become very ill, and her family had been talking about how much Alfie’s music had meant to her. She had even named her medicine pump after him! It was a Friday lunchtime, but Shirley called Alfie’s team at Vector, in the hope that a few words of support from Alfie could be passed along to the patient.  In Shirley’s words, this is what happened next:

I knew it was a big ask because he was due on stage in Carousel that night – but his team said they would see what they could do. I had to leave work a bit early to drive my son home from school, but as I stepped through my front door at 6pm my phone pinged. It was a message from Alfie’s team, and I immediately thought I must write it down and get it back to the hospice as soon as I can. But when I opened the email and looked more closely I realised it was actually a video, recorded for our patient that afternoon by Alfie, sending love and support. He said he would be thinking of her as he was on stage that night. I downloaded it onto my iPad and went back to the hospice. I wish I could tell you how much joy it brought, not just for the lady in question, but also for her family, who were at her bedside. If only I could have caught it on camera – she simply could not believe that he had gone to so much trouble and that she had him, talking directly to her, in her room, just as he was going on stage in London. It’s a moment I won’t forget. Sadly, she died a few days later. Her family gave me permission to share the story with you; until now we haven’t told anyone, but they want people to know how much it meant and what an amazing memory it has given them.

I don’t know about you but when I first heard that story I shed a tear or two, and I know I speak for all of you when I say a huge thank you to the family of the lady concerned and best wishes going forward.

As mentioned earlier, Alfie’s fans love to support his chosen charities so stay tuned as there will be more news about Alfie and Trinity in the next few weeks.

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Autism – most of us have heard of autism and a fair amount of us probably think we know what is meant by the term autism, but do we?  There are a huge range of issues faced by people with autism and one of the problems causing difficulty is a lack of understanding amongst the wider public which is where World Autism Awareness Week (WAAW) comes in.  Brought into being by the National Autistic Society (NAS) to highlight World Autism Awareness Day on 2 April, WAAW, which runs 27 March – 2 April 2017, aims to further raise awareness and understanding in public attitudes.

This year, the charity is being helped with it’s annual campaign by up and coming music duo The Beautiful Secret, whose new single, What’s Inside, is the anthem for World Autism Awareness Week:

Released tomorrow, the song shows ‘what’s inside’ Katie-Rae, shown in the video.  Katie’s aunt, Rachael Hawnt, is one half of The Beautiful Secret (alongside Ashley Cutler) and after hearing Katie say that “no one ever listens to me”, wrote What’s Inside in response.  Rachael said about Katie-Rae, “she has autism and learning difficulties and had many fears and phobias from the get-go. She has struggled with social situations and depression all of her life, but she is still a strong and loving person with a fantastic artistic flare and a big, big heart.  We wanted to write a song to help raise funds and awareness for autistic people. The first person I went to talk to was Katie-Rae; I told her I wanted to write about the way she felt, a real perspective from a real autistic child.”

The fundraising and awareness aspect of teaming up with the National Autistic Society came later and is something that Katie-Rae herself feels very proud of. Speaking this week, Katie said “I’m not brave enough to get the word out there myself so my aunt is doing it for me…it makes me happy that it’s going to help people”.

Highlighting understanding is the key to both this song and this year’s World Autism Awareness Week and Katie-Rae’s own words encapsulate perfectly the issues she and many other autistic people face on a daily basis.  Speaking about school, Katie told me that

No one cared how we felt, people thought we were crazy.  We’re not crazy, we’re just different.  People didn’t really understand, even the teachers, until Miss Young helped us explain to the other teachers how we feel and how we think.

The fundraising head of NAS, Kate Donohue, agreed that “very often, young autistic people felt that no one ever listened to them”, which is why the song is so powerful.  To have Katie-Rae appearing in a video highlights just how powerful the song is – and also shows how brave this young lady is, despite what she thinks.

What’s Inside, by The Beautiful Secret, supporting the National Autistic Society is available here:

All proceeds go to NAS.

Click here to find out more about the fundraising and awareness work of the National Autistic Society.

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September is over half way through and that means that it is nearly Alfie Boe’s birthday!  Yes, on September 29th, Alfie will be 43…and getting younger every year!

If you would like to post Alfie a birthday message, pop it in the form below and it will be featured on a new Message to Alfie page next week:

This video is from the Classic BRIT awards in 2013 and I chose this video as it was just a few days past Alfie’s birthday and a group of fans were there to see this breathtaking performance and give him our own birthday card.  Amazingly, he then tweeted a thank you alongside a picture of the card…still gives me goosebumps thinking about it now.

Definitely one of my top Alfie moments!

This year, as he has done for the previous five years, Alfie is fundraising for music charity Nordoff Robbins in honour of his birthday (click here to find out more about the charity). Overall, Alfie fans have raised over £8600 and of this year’s fundraiser, Nordoff Robbins CEO, Julie Whelan, said

We are thrilled that our long-standing ambassador Alfie has chosen to dedicate his birthday to us at Nordoff Robbins again this year. This initiative has raised crucial funds for our services and has really helped to raise awareness of our work over the years. Alfie first started supporting Nordoff Robbins in 2011 and we are so proud to be able to say that we have his continued support to this day.

If you would like to donate something to celebrate Alfie’s birthday, click here to go through to Nordoff Robbins – you can choose Alfie Boe as a reason for donating.  Let’s see if we can raise more than the £1719 we raised last year!  Go Alfie Boe fans!

Don’t forget there’s still time to enter our competition to win a Sunflower Jam DVD featuring Alfie singing I Wanna Know What Love Is and othersclick here to enter.

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Alfie Boe has several charities that he supports and we like to keep fans up to date with them all.  One thing that all the charities mention is the generosity of Alfie and his fans alike and no exception to that is TF Willetts, of whom Alfie is a patron and I spoke to the CEO, Brian E Willetts earlier this year.

The TF Willetts Foundation was formed back in 2007 and so 2017 will be their 10th anniversary. Their aims and objects are simple, being to continue the education of young people through the arts and to find ways to strengthen the identity of the individual and community through a variety of arts driven initiatives and programmes.  I was aware that the charity is based in Wales but was keen to find out more about their work in other parts of the country.  The CEO, Brian E Willetts, said

Our work as a charity is national and international and whilst The Light Project is focused on an area of Wales we support projects that have an impact across the UK and US.  Our ‘Sounding Motion’ project works with young people in the north with composers from London and dancers for Leeds and London in partnership with Huddersfield University.  Our ‘Choir of Light’ community has choirs in Wales, London, Midlands, the North and the USA and our music scholars perform across the world. In recent years our young people from our Choir of Light programme have performed, as part of his national tour, with Andrea Bocelli, with young people joining from across the UK to perform at the O2 as well as Leeds Arena.

Of course, this being the official Alfie Boe fan blog I was keen to find out how having Alfie as patron helps the foundation.  Brian said that “Alfie, as our Patron, has aligned himself with our work both in terms of our education outreach and The Light Project.  Both Alfie and Dame Shirley are great Patrons and their support as Patrons makes a real difference. They are both iconic artists from different generations and so speak to different audiences yet speak as one through our work to impact and improve the lives of young people through their passion for the arts and how they use the arts to communicate through their talent as singers and as role models. Having a Patron like Alfie, who is so unique and amazing, helps us show young people what is possible through hard work.”

 

TF Willetts is one of the less well known charities supported by Alfie but to them, size is not important.  They prefer to concentrate on the impact the work has on those they support and work with. Of course, like every charity, they face challenges, not least that of generating enough funds to make the work possible but, as Brian explains, “when sometimes it feels hopeless, friends and supporters step up and make possible what we aim to do and for this we are so grateful.”

For further information on TF Willetts and their work, click here.

When Alfie met Sarah, according to his autobiography, he was making a cup of tea, so who better to back the start of Trinity Hospice’s annual Tea Party campaign?  Of course, Alfie Boe is the patron of the Fylde Coast’s hospice, which also encompasses the children’s hospice, Brian House and he is very supportive of the continuous fundraising efforts needed to keep services going each year.  Since Alfie became patron, Trinity has seen a marked increase in donations from outside the local area and their press officer, Shirley Morgan, says that “we couldn’t have a better patron; we really appreciate the global audience he brings and to top it all, he’s such a nice guy.”

Shirley also shared a little bit of fundraising trivia with me: when analysing their social media reach for 2015, the message with by far and away the most reach and engagement was the tweet in which two Classic Quadrophenia tickets were auctioned off.  A massive 17,000 people were reached by that one tweet!  The closest tweet reached 9,000 people so it perfectly demonstrates how much Alfie’s support means.

Annually, £5 million is needed to fund the hospice and in the last two years, over £30,000 has been raised by tea parties.  That’s a lot of tea and cakes! So what does that money provide in terms of services?  What difference do our individual donations actually make? Well, £10 provides art materials for someone to make a memory box for their loved ones, £150 runs Brian House for one hour, £500 provides eight bereavement sessions for a family and £1,500 means that a child can stay over the weekend, providing much needed respite care for both the child and the family.  All donations are another step closer to the overall target of £5 million.

So, how can you support Trinity’s Tea Party in 2016?  Hold a tea party and donate by clicking here.  Don’t forget to mention that you’re an Alfie Boe fan and it’s a tea party donation.

If you’d like to join in a virtual tea party, just click here to join the Official Alfie Boe Facebook Fan Group and details of the event will be posted shortly.  See you there!

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Celebrities these days usually have a number of charities which they support and Alfie Boe is no exception.  Many of his charities are long standing associations and one of these is the music therapy charity, Nordoff Robbins.  Alfie became an ambassador for Nordoff Robbins in November 2011 following his win of the PPL Classical Award at the 2011 Nordoff Robbins O2 Silver Clef Awards. His ambassadorship was launched alongside the 2011 Christmas appeal which he spearheaded.  Since then, Alfie has dedicated his birthday to the charity and his fans have responded with enthusiasm, raising the huge amount of £8605 in five years.  Wow! Click here to see what that means for the charity.  In response to this amazing effort from fans, Alfie said “Once again I’m overwhelmed with the generosity shown by fans who have donated to Nordoff Robbins in honour of my birthday. I’m passionate about music education and therapy and I really appreciate every single donation. It’s the best birthday present ever”.

So, who are Nordoff Robbins?  Although the fundraising charity is now celebrating it’s fortieth year, the foundations of the therapy itself go back to 1959 when Paul Nordoff, an American composer and pianist and Clive Robbins, a special education teacher first developed collaborative music making which they termed ‘therapy in music’. Over the next fifteen years, this therapy was developed and delivered all over the world with the first centre opening in South London in 1970.  Programmes for adults began in the latter part of this era.  Since then, the charity has grown and grown and is now the largest single music therapy organisation in the UK, dedicated to transforming the lives of vulnerable and isolated people.  Although Alfie’s special area of interest is providing music therapy and education for children, this is by no means the only group to be helped.  People with dementia, depression, terminal or chronic illnesses and people with brain injuries are also amongst the recipients of the specialist therapy available.  In some cases, music therapy is part of palliative care.  In addition, the families and communities of those who receive therapy are also helped,  thus ensuring a broad reach approach.

As if all this wasn’t enough, Nordoff Robbins also delivers Masters of Music Therapy (MMT) training in both London and Manchester as well as accessible training and short course programmes for people who want to learn more about music therapy.

In order to provide these services, the charity relies on fundraising efforts from individuals and events such as the Silver Clef Awards and the Music Industry Trust Awards.  In 2016, Nordoff Robbins are the official charity partner for the BRIT Awards, held on 24 February.  Free downloads of the live performances will be available on the night, with Google Play Music  donating the costs to the charity.  Last year’s charity received £250,000!

Click here to find out more about Nordoff Robbins and here to find out more about Google Play Music at the BRIT Awards.

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As fans of Alfie we are aware of his work with various charities, most notably Nordoff Robbins and Trinity Hospice. However, Alfie Boe’s charity work also includes the TF Willetts Foundation, of which he is a patron, alongside Dame Shirley Bassey.

The foundation is named after Thomas Frederick Willetts, music director of a church in Treharris, South Wales, where he served the local community for many years, prior to his death in 2007. Following his death, the foundation was set up to encourage young people to explore the arts through a range of projects aimed at building the community. As Alfie himself says, “music can change and transform communities, empowering all who participate. It’s great to be part of a charity which is working to make a difference”. The foundation now supports over 2,500 young people through a number of community centred outreach initiatives.

One of Willetts’ guiding principles throughout his life was that each one of us is an artist in some form; whether it be a singer, musician, an artist, baker, or rugby player. Each person in any given community is a creative being and given the chance, can give off their own unique light that works towards a common community driven success. With this in mind, the current TF Willetts fundraising campaign is called Life in the Light: 1000 Points of Light which seeks to raise £50,000 to help fund a new arts centre at the heart of the Light Project.  If you can help them reach their target, watch this to see where your money will go:

To find out more about TF Willetts Foundation, click here.

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