Merry Christmas!

19 December 2008

It has been quite a year! Post Pals has grown even more and we are currently making 120 children smile on a daily basis with post.

We have had many ups this year with some of the Pals going from strength to strength and beating the odds which is always wonderful to see. We have of course had sadness too, with the passing of Daniel M, Declan K, Jack Bradley B, Rebecca L and Samantha H. We are thinking of their families as well as the families who have lost a Pal in the previous years.

The summer brought a Queens Award for Voluntary Services (group equivalent of an MBE), and the winter brought “Young Philanthropist of the Year” from the Beacon Awards.

This has been our best year for donations and we are now in the process of applying for a reg charity number. Special thanks have to go to Abbies Fund (set up in memory of Pal Abbie S) who donated £1000, Harry G’s family who raised £800, Jon Paul, his Mum and Rebecca L’s mum, who have fundraised, and Samatha H’s family who have asked people to donate to us in memory of their daughter, as well as Paul Tomkins who has made donations to us from proceeds of his book (and mentioned us in the dedication of his new one!). Of course we are grateful to EVERYONE who has donated or fundraised, whether you have sent in £1 or £1000 we have used it to create smiles – for just 50p we can send a postcard and brighten a child’s day.

I would love to put thank you’s up to every individual who has sent post, donated money, items or time, or fundraised for us, but it’s simply not possible – and I’m too scared that I will miss people out. However, please know that we appreciate everything that is done, and regardless of whether you got a letter in return for cards sent – you did create a smile (or more!).

We have a wonderful set of volunteers who work incredibly hard to enable us to do what we do best! Thank you to them all, in particular Kate, who keeps the kids pages updated (no mean feat!) and gathers feedback from the parents every month, and Jan who has taken over as treasurer when Vix retired from the job.

I do have to put a special note in here for St Matthew’s Sunday School. One week their teachers Julia (who has sadly since passed away) and Judith decided to get them writing letters, but the children were so eager they now do them every single week. They really are an amazing bunch of kids!

Also a special note to two wonderful Companies who have supported us from our early days, Moonpig who let us send incredible cards (for some reason shop’s don’t tend to sell “No More Chemo”, “Seizure Free”, or “Congratulations on your new tummy” cards which we can create with Moonpig, and also to Bizzy Balloons who send fantastic balloons to Pals. Recently I’ve had emails from 2 different families talking about how the balloons made a wonderful difference in their child’s last few weeks, one is even putting it in her sons special memory box – thank you Moonpig and Bizzy Balloons.

A special mention as well to my long suffering parents! When i told them my idea five and a half years ago, I don’t think they had a clue as to how much it would over take their lives – and house! Every inch of the house is full of Post Pals things, they haven’t been able to get the cars in the garage for years, they have to make countless trips to the post office, spend hours weighing and stamping post, taking calls when I’m unable, taking me to events etc. Someone who came to one of our “wrapping days” (when we have volunteers over for a whole day to wrap presents) commented about how people who visit the website don’t realise how much goes on behind the scenes and how much of our life has been taken over by it – very true!

A real highlight of the year was in the summer when we celebrated our 5th birthday by hosting a garden party which lots of people from around the UK came to, some from as far away as Cornwall and the Isle of Wight! It was a fantastic and moving day, and something which we hope to make an annual event.

Another highlight of the year was having 100 tickets donated to us by Merlin so all the Pals families could visit Thorpe Park (thank you Merlin), lots are also busy visiting Father Christmas at Harrods at the moment. One of the things we try to do is put families in touch with other charities which are out there, an example being someone emailed us from Over the Wall, and we were able to send the details onto the relevant families – those who went had a fantastic time and plan on returning as soon as possible! If you come across something which you think might be of help to our families please get in touch.

I guess that sums it all up and leaves me to wish you all a…

VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Love from us all at Post Pals.

A few pictures of the past year…

Lewis with his post – including a big fluffy friend!

Our 5th birthday cake

Samantha and her birthday ‘Airdo

Milly and Alice P

Megan H with some pressies

William M and his Post Pals Chemo Duck

Jemima with her Postie wall

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Declan K

16 December 2008

We are very sad to say that Declan K passed away on the 15th of December 2008. He suffered a lot in his short life time and will always be his families “little hero”.

Sympathy cards can be sent to Caz, Brendon and Kyle, at his usual address. Please also carry on sending cheerful post to Kyle.

Declan 07/05/2002-15/12/2008

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