The Stratford Lunch Club Champion Fund has been set up in memory of Jo Wheelwright's mother Grace, who passed away in 2013.
Jo's mum was diagnosed with a brain tumour on February 14th 2013.
"She never had a day's illness and was a really strong and wonderful lady." She faced surgery to remove the tumour with courage and hope but it was Grade 4 and, despite everyone's best efforts, the progression of her illness was very fast. Grace was sadly given only months to live, and she never regained her voice or her mobility.
One of Jo's most special memories of her mother during her illness was of Grace trying to ask Jo's (now) husband to take care of her. Despite the difficulty in communicating Grace was "Still my caring beautiful mother."
Grace passed away on the 9th July after a seizure. "It broke my heart and since I started the Lunch Club I found it has helped me a lot"
Jo says " I lost my mum to this cruel disease and felt that we didn't have support, and that is why I wanted to fundraise to help other patients and families get help."
So in early autumn 2016 Jo started a Lunch Club for people to join in Stratford Upon Avon, meeting once a month to get to know each other, enjoy good food and company and raise money for Brain Tumour Support at the same time.
Jo explains: "As a family we always looked forward to Sunday lunch, and that’s usually when we meet. The club is open to anyone young, old, single, divorced, married. I believe no one should eat alone on a Sunday."
The first meeting was attended by 17 people, and now it has over 300 members.
Recalling her mum's illness Jo says: "At the time we didn’t know where to get support or who to turn to. I found out that since I founded the Lunch Club a lot of people have also lost someone to a brain tumour and now want to talk about it because it helps. Our get-togethers are fun and very sociable and as a result a massive friendship circle has developed."