Weekly Community Roundup – 3rd December 2021

Fold-up bicycle takes Mark Clements 57 miles across Berkshire in sponsored charity ride

Mark Clements, Regional Support Manager of E Sargeant & Son Funeral Directors in Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, cycled the distance between London and Brighton on a small Brompton bicycle as part of his funeral home’s five-year commitment to raise £50,000 for Thames Hospice.

Mark put his unconventional bike to the test by cycling 57 miles from Slough to Woodley and back, while stopping at several Funeral Partners funeral homes along the way.

He said: “This bike is iconic around London, where you’ll often see commuters folding them up into buses, trains and taxis. I thought it would make a great challenge to go further and try for over 50 miles.”

“I visited the E Sargeant & Son funeral homes and their sister branches across a five-and-a-half hour ride, including Miles & Daughters Funeral Directors in Twyford and Richard Lloyd Funeral Services in Woodley.”

The M6L Brompton bicycle is traditionally used by commuters looking to easily stow their bikes when traveling across cities, with just six gears, 16-inch wheels and a light frame to carry.

To continue supporting E Sargeant & Son’s pledge of raising £10,000 annually for Thames Hospice for five years – of which the funeral directors is now in its fourth year – Mark got the idea to push the limits of the nifty bicycle across his home county in a sponsored ride.

He described: “The ride was surprisingly bearable. Although my legs felt like jelly towards the end of the route, it was an enjoyable day.”

The bike ride has so far raised £820 in sponsorships and Gift Aid donations through a page created by Mark on JustGiving, the online fundraising platform.

The funds will be used by Thames Hospice to support people with life-limiting illnesses through high-quality palliative and end-of-life care across Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

Jane Symmons, Head of Major Gifts at Thames Hospice, said: “Funeral Partners has been generously supporting Thames Hospice for a number of years, and it is because of this ongoing partnership that we are both able to care for so many people in our communities.

“Thanks so much Mark for your amazing effort, it is no easy feat. I would encourage everyone to support Mark if they can by donating generously to his JustGiving page.”

Donations can be made towards Mark’s sponsored bike ride at https://bit.ly/3D2mhnH

To support E Sargeant & Son’s 2020/21 fundraising activities for Thames Hospice – which have so far included a quiz at Arbour Park Stadium and climb over the O2 Arena – visit https://esargeant.dedicationpage.org/thameshospice2020

Daredevil bikers join Dawe Brothers Funeral Directors in hair-raising skydive for hospice

Justin Hydes, Funeral Arranger at Dawe Brothers Funeral Directors in Ledbury, skydived from a staggering 13,500ft to fundraise for his local hospice with a group of bikers, who have raised over £600,000 for the hospice to date.

The Hospice Angels were founded by Mike Pullin in 2003 and have carried out a number of sponsored motorcycle rides for St Michael’s Hospice, including across Sweden and India. This is in addition to 10 sponsored skydives through its subgroup the Flying Angels.

Justin said: “I met Mike through my brother-in-law, whose mother was cared for exceptionally well at St Michael’s Hospice before she passed away.

“After learning about the incredible amount of funds the Hospice Angels have raised for St Michael’s over the years, I wanted to get involved as much as I could. This therefore marks my second skydive with the Flying Angels.”

Justin helped raise over £2,500 for St Michael’s when he, Mike and the rest of the Flying Angels took to the skies in 2019 and fell from 13,000ft.

In 2020 Justin’s mother, Brenda, was cared for by St Michael’s in her home before she passed away, despite the pressures of lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Justin said: “I, my father and my sister will always be grateful for all of the support St Michael’s have provided and continue to provide. This next skydive was therefore in memory of mum.”

The group is over the moon to have raised more than £18,870 for its 2021 skydive, with Justin also raising £300 for Dream Your Future, which provides counselling and mental health support for parents of schoolchildren.

Justin said: “In addition to Mike handing out sponsorship forms to Herefordshire residents, Funeral Partners was kind enough to design posters for us to place around Dawe Brothers. These had QR codes that people could easily scan with their phones and find the MuchLoved donation page through.

“The combined effort must have made a difference, as I never would have dreamed that we’d raise nearly £20,000.”

Justin was beaming with excitement as he climbed into the seatless plane with the Flying Angels and ascended to 13,500ft, which was 500ft higher than his last skydive. For him, fear never came into the equation. He laughed: “The hardest part was the two-hour drive to Netheravon Airfield on Salisbury Plain.”

“The actual skydive is very liberating and peaceful, even during the 45 seconds of freefalling from such an incredible height.”

Mike said: “I became friends with Justin just after I moved to Ledbury about two and a half years ago. Since then, Dawe Brothers has been kind enough to offer their premises as a place for us to set up table sales and raise money for St Michael’s.

“Fundraising with Justin has been a real eye-opener. Being in the funeral profession, he sees first-hand the comfort that St Michael’s brings to families and their loved ones, and he’s always coming up with ideas to help the Hospice Angels raise more money.”

Justin is now speaking with Mike about abseiling for St Michael’s Hospice to continue raising funds at a time when hospices are most in need, while Mike is looking for people to join the 2022 skydive.

Justin concluded: “It’s always a pleasure teaming up with the Hospice Angels and I look forward to seeing what else we can do together.”

Winter wishes

WH Putman Funeral Directors in Harrow are getting in the festive spirit with their seasonal window display. Everyone in the team would like to send warm winter wishes to everyone in the community.

Donation to local school

The team at John Blenkiron & Sons Funeral Directors have purchased two prizes and donated them to a Green Lane Primary School for their tombola and outdoor carol service in December to raise funds for outdoor equipment.

Make your choice

Gillman Funeral Service in Tooting have created a beautiful seasonal window display around making plans, with personal wishes forms available to collect.  Have your funeral your way with the Choice funeral plan.

Remembrance window

Wilton Funeral Services have decorated their windows in support of the Royal British Legion and to honour both fallen and serving members of the Armed Forces community.

Festive window

Wilton Funeral Services are getting in the festive spirit with their seasonal window display which looks stunning in the evening with the lights switched on. The team take great pride in creating displays which are eye catching for the local community to enjoy.   

Festive window

AH Rogers & Sons Funeral Directors in Eastleigh have created their festive window with the Mayor of Eastleigh Cllr Cynthia Garton judging the best dressed. Good luck to the team.

Festive window

Melia Powell Funeral Service in Keighley are getting in the festive spirit with their seasonal window display.

Polar Bears seen in Torbay

You could be forgiven for thinking you were in the Arctic instead of Devon with the Torbay & District Funeral Service window display.

The team have created their own corner of magic for the local community to enjoy this year.

World Kindness Day

The 13th of November is World Kindness Day, William H Painter wanted to give back to the local community by donating 50 cupcakes to Bluebird Care Solihull.

Emma Welch a Funeral Arranger at William H Painter in Solihull said: “it was a gesture to recognise all the hard work they do for the community.”