The Stratford Sunday Lunch Club, a club set up by Jo Wheelwright-Horne for friends to meet up on a regular basis, has raised more than £33,000 for Brain Tumour Support.
Jo, who lost her beloved mum to a brain tumour in 2013, started the club in 2017. Back then the club had 17 members. Today it has more than 500 members who meet up on a monthly basis in venues around Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as holding a summer ball and a Christmas party.
“I chose to raise funds for Brain Tumour Support because the charity offers the kind of support that I wish we had received at the time of my mother’s diagnosis,” said Jo. “We did not know where to turn when mum was diagnosed. It was a terrible time – mum passed away only five months after diagnosis. So fast and cruel. We did not get a great deal of support back then. I wish I had known about the services of Brain Tumour Support – it is such an amazing charity that helps so many people. Through my fundraising I have met so many lovely people and made so many great friends, many of whom have also lost loved ones.”
Jo has her very own Champion Fund for Brain Tumour Support, giving special recognition to her fundraising, and her achievements were also recognised by the town of Stratford in 2018 when Jo won a Pride of Stratford Award.
“I’d like to thank all the local restaurants and hotels around Stratford-upon-Avon who have been very supportive and everyone who has helped organise the meetings, especially Ully Dale who is a star!” said Jo. “I’d also like to thank local estate agent Taylor Raif Estates who have been generous club sponsors.”
The funds raised by the Stratford Sunday Lunch Club are vital to Brain Tumour Support, which runs monthly support groups across the UK, including in Stratford-upon-Avon and Coventry. The charity also offers one-to-one counselling, telephone support and on-line support to patients and families affected by any type of brain tumour. Its services are free and funded entirely by donations.
Brain Tumour Support was set up 16 years ago by Tina Mitchell Skinner, who lost her husband to a brain tumour. “What Jo and her friends at the Stratford Sunday Lunch Club have achieved is remarkable,” said Tina. “We are so very grateful. Not only have they raised funds for us and another charity, they bring people together to spread joy. We know how important this can be – our motto is ‘Together we are stronger’ and with fundraising champions like Jo, we will be able to bring more people and families together to make sure they are not alone when faced with a brain tumour diagnosis.”
The next Stratford Sunday Lunch Club meeting is on the 29th March at the One Elm in Stratford. See the club’s Facebook group for more details (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1790017144547149/).