An amazing three weeks for Sadie

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Sadie Phillips has had a roller-coaster of a month. Last week Sadie was celebrating her 31st birthday at a Virgin Money London Marathon event in London, where she was surprised with a bottle of champagne presented to her by Sir Richard Branson. The previous week, Sadie and her boyfriend Jon were delighted to discover that they had been selected for Gold Bond places in the London Marathon by Cancer Research UK. And only a few days before that, Sadie was given the all clear from cervical cancer for the second time in her life.

Sadie says “Having just beaten cervical cancer for the second time in my life, we wanted to give something back to this fantastic charity. I dread to think where I’d be without their research into this terrifying disease. The fact that the doctors have been able to cure me not just once, but twice, is AMAZING. So we wanted to do something amazing too!

In the UK, cervical cancer accounts for about 1% of cancer cases and about 1% of all cancer deaths. Cancer Research UK are the official charity of the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon and Sadie says “We only pledged to raise £1,000 with the [Plymouth Half Marathon] and managed to raise over £5,000 so hopefully we will exceed expectations again.” Sadly, Sadie was unable to do the Plymouth Half as she was undergoing treatment at the time, but the happy news of the past three weeks has made up for the missed opportunity.

Sadie says “All of the good news sort of came at once. It was absolutely amazing when I found out I had the all clear – it’s the best feeling ever. From the moment that you are diagnosed with cancer, ‘all clear’ are just the two words you are waiting for the whole time.

To support Sadie and Jon in their fundraising, you can visit their Virgin Money Giving page and you can read more of Sadie’s story here.

A Very Special Fundraiser Friday

This week we gathered together a huge bunch of Virgin Money London Marathon running fundraisers to celebrate raising a massive £250 million since Virgin Money began sponsoring the event in 2010. Here are some of their stories.

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Running for Save the Rhino International, we have Rory Harding. Not only does Rory tell us that he’s “not particularly athletic, and definitely not a runner“, but he’s also running the 26.3 miles in a rhino costume! Rory has worked for the charity for a year and managed this year’s marathon team, which inspired him to take it on himself. About Save the Rhino International, Rory says “All the money raised will go straight into vital rhino conservation throughout Africa and Asia. By working to protect one species so vital to the local ecosystems, so much more wildlife and the people that live alongside it are helped” You can support Rory via his Virgin Money Giving page.

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We were also also delighted to meet up with runners, past and present, who support Anthony Nolan, which was the charity of the year at the 2014 London Marathon. Melissa Fehr ran the marathon this year supporting Anthony Nolan on the fifth anniversary of the bone marrow transplant that saved her life. Melissa had the in 2009, as treatment for a rare blood disorder and it was Anthony Nolan who found the donor who donated their bone marrow to make the operation possible.

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Introducing the official charity of the 2015 London Marathon, Cancer Research UK, is Gill Punt. In 2014 Gill ran the Marathon for the second time – in part to remember her Dad, but also for the pupils and teachers at Chigwell School, where she works. Many of them are currently battling various types of cancer, and she wanted to do something positive. She has raised over £20,000 through taking part in the London Marathon and plans to continue this through running the marathon next year. You can support Gill via her Virgin Money Giving page.

Virgin Money London Marathon fundraisers raise over £250Million

When Virgin was announced as the title sponsor of the London Marathon in 2010, the ambition was to work together to reach a charity fundraising target of £1/4 billion in five years. We are now pleased to announce that this figure has been broken, with the total raised for charity in the five years of Virgin Money sponsorship now standing at £261.4 million.

Individual runners in the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon set yet another record figure for charity fundraising for good causes by generating £53.2 million. The average amount raised by every London Marathon Golden Bond charity runner was £2,407.

It is the eighth consecutive year that London Marathon entrants have broken the Guinness World Record for the largest annual single-day charity
fundraising event worldwide.

These figures bring the total raised for hundreds of charitable causes since the race began in 1981 to more than £716 million.

There were 35,868 London Marathon finishers on Sunday 13 April 2014, with the number of runners raising money for charity increasing by two per cent on 2013, with 77 per cent of these runners raising money for good causes. The total who have completed the race, since it started 34 years ago now stands at 924,741 runners.

Virgin Money London Marathon race director Hugh Brasher said: “We are extremely pleased to reach the quarter of a billion pound figure in only five years with our partnership with Virgin Money, and especially delighted that this year’s amazing London Marathon runners have, once again, raised a record-breaking amount of money for charity.

Our official charity of the year, Anthony Nolan raised over £1.3 million, smashing their own target of £1.1 million. It was a pleasure to support this exciting and lifesaving charity in its fortieth anniversary year, and to welcome its biggest team of runners yet. Anthony Nolan’s passionate supporters who lined the streets of London carried people around the route, and summed up the uplifting spirit of marathon day”.

Sir Richard Branson said: “When Virgin first got involved with the London Marathon we set the bar high and challenged runners to not only complete their 26 miles, but within five years also help raise £¼ billion for good causes. Today’s news shows that not only have we all risen to that challenge, but during the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon we smashed right through it.

“Lots of charity runners raise their money through Virgin Money Giving, our not-for-profit fundraising website. Over £77m has been raised to date by Marathon fundraisers using Virgin Money Giving, and long may they continue to do so.

We’re doing a little maintenance tomorrow night

We're doing a little work on the website

Tomorrow evening we will be carrying out overnight maintenance to the Virgin Money Giving website.

As a result the website will be unavailable between: 22:00 on 17 September and 06:00 on 18 September

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, but it’s important for us to carry out this type of maintenance to ensure the system runs efficiently to support your fundraising.

If you have any questions please call our team on 08456 10 10 45 or email us at theteam@virginmoneygiving.com. We’re here Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 17:30.

Big Bird’s Charity Challenge



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We often feature fundraisers taking on an incredible challenge for a charity close to their heart, however Jackie is slightly different. She didn’t just decide to take on a challenge, she gave herself an incredible fundraising target to be divided between four charities, and will continue to fundraise – by any means – until she reaches that target. Jackie told us her story.

Big Bird’s Charity Challenge began in 2010 when I turned 40.  I decided that I wanted to do something different to celebrate my milestone birthday.

BBCC is all about raising £40,000 for four different charities and inspiring friends and family to help raise money towards the target as everyone can do something, no matter how big or small to raise money.  It’s all the little amounts that soon add up to make a big amount.

The money is divided between four different charities that have a personal meaning to me.  The charities are Help the Hospices UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Diabetes UK and Help For Heroes.

Unfortunately, my mum had cancer and passed away in 1997 when she was 60.  Without the support of Macmillan Cancer Support and St Michael’s Hospice, I am not sure how my family and I would have coped.  In 2007, I lost a dear friend, Graham Goldsmith to a brain tumour and it was the help and support of the Iain Rennie Hospice that helped his family through a very difficult time, which is why I chose Help the Hospices UK as the second charity.  My old pops, now in his 80s, has diabetes and my friend was serving in the RAF and so Diabetes UK and Help For Heroes were chosen as the other two charities.

I started the BBCC fundraising with a 40th birthday party and held a silent auction, raffle and had fun games to play and the evening raised over £4,000, which was a great start.  Since then, I have held various events which have included:  me training and taking part in three half marathons, a team of 16 doing the three peaks challenge,  cake bakes, fancy dress discos, pub quizzes, Christmas fêtes and ‘Come Dine With Me’ evenings.  A friend very generously donated her wedding money and even my godson and his sister iced biscuits and sold them for 50p each!  I have also done numerous car boot sales, sold items on eBay and recycled mobile phones, CDs and DVDs.

As you can see, it really is a case of all the little amounts add up.  I am looking to hold a black tie event in April next year and a possible abseil down the Spinnaker Tower which will take me completely out of my comfort zone as I hate heights!  But to me, what’s a challenge like that against the challenges that my Mum and Graham faced?   

It hasn’t all been easy; having a full-time job, finding time to train for my half marathons and organise events – but it has been fun!  It does all take time but, with the help of my friends and family, I am pleased to say the total now – including gift aid – is over £39,000, so not far from the big £40,000 now!

To help support Jackie reach her incredible target, visit her Virgin Money Giving page.

Virgin Money Giving present ‘Campaigns’

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Virgin Money Giving are proud to announce our new Campaigns tool; a new resource for charities to be able to create new ways of bringing supporters together for a cause or an activity.

This flexible tool has a number of options such as linking fundraisers to a hub page, viewing donors who give to the specific cause  and adding widgets – such as videos and Twitter feeds – to allow charities to tell their story. It also allows charities to create customised donation amounts with images, so they can tell donors what the money could be used for.

The options available within the tool include:

  • Linking fundraisers
  • Showing all donors
  • Adding a campaign logo
  • Adding custom donation amounts with images
  • Adding  a widget such as Twitter, video, an image gallery and social sharing links
  • Adding a target and a total amount raised
  • Being able to switch off Gift Aid for a campaign

You can use the tool in three ways; to create Appeals, to create Charity of the Year pages for corporate partners and to create Event hubs for key events.

The first of these, Appeals Pages, are to raise money for a specific objective; such as a disaster appeal or a church roof appeal. The second, Event Hubs, are for charities that have teams or groups of people running for a specific event such as the Virgin Money London Marathon. By bringing people together to see who else is taking part and how much is raised, the aim is to help fundraisers feel part of something bigger and  want  to raise more. The final use, the Charity of the Year pages, bring together various fundraising activity undertaken by your corporate partners and colleagues and allow the charity and the corporate partner to see how much has been raised.

Our most recent #FundraiserFriday star, Paul Prothero, used the Campaigns tool for his most recent campaign, read his story here.

Hiking in Meggings

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Many different things can inspire a fundraiser to take on a challenge and, in some cases, change their lives. Sadly, fundraising challenges often start with a painful event when a friend or family member requires the help of a charity. This is the case of our Fundraiser Friday star, Alex Waddington.

Tomorrow, Alex Waddington will be hiking 56 miles through the Peak District, home to the Bullock Smithy Hike. He was inspired to take on the challenge after his dad died, very suddenly, of cancer in January of this year. He tells us “It was only weeks after my daughter had been born and, sadly, dad never got to meet Aggie. So it was a bad start to the year, but it provided some great motivation for me to do something good. “

And so, Alex decided to take on the Bullock Smithy Hike. A 56 mile trek through the dramatic Peak District which Alex says “takes in some of the finest parts of the Peaks, offers lots of dramatic climbs and descents, and features, among other things, some rather frisky cattle!“.

Alex will be fundraising for two charities, the first of which is Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity who work with those who have cancer, the families of cancer sufferers, as well as health and social care professionals to improve the lives of the 1 in 3 people in the UK who will be diagnosed in their lifetime. He also decided to fundraise for the smaller charity, Strathcarron Hospice in Scotland, who say their aim “is to sustain, develop and deliver a full range of quality services – in-patient, day hospice, community, bereavement, pastoral care, lymphoedema, reasearch and education.”  Alex set himself a £3,000 target for the charities which “both provided some great support and care during [his] Dad’s short illness.”

The challenge which Alex took on doesn’t just involve the hike itself, Alex has undertaken a 6 month training schedule to get himself in shape which he admits has been hard work, but something he has enjoyed and that has been successful in getting him fit. He has also faced challenges in the shape of leggings and cows. Alex tells us more;

To help push my fundraising along in the early days, I offered to wear some garish “meggings” (men’s leggings) on my Monday morning training to the station run if we hit £1,000 by a certain date. My friends and colleagues responded magnificently and sure enough, one morning I ran five miles looking absolutely ridiculous – but with a huge smile on my face! They never got a second airing – they were so tight they ripped in some unfortunate places! As well as keeping my feet and body going across 56 miles of challenging terrain, and through the night, I will have to tackle my fear of cows. I have never trusted them but during my training I have been forced to go through some fields where in previous years the cows have been reported to have charged at walkers! My response has been to take a walking pole and follow advice, which is not to run but face them down and shout at them. It’s worked so far – I still don’t trust the things, but I am less worried about them now!”

So far, including gift aid, Alex has raised over £3,500. His warm-ups have included walking 42 miles across remote North Yorkshire moorland, through the night, as a warm up hike. “I finished in 15 hours and having been awake for 33 hours by the end, promptly laid down and fell asleep in the long grass for an hour.”

Alex concludes by telling us “After such a bad start to the year, things are set to end on a positive note.

To support Alex in his fundraising challenge, visit his Virgin Money Giving page.


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