Stratford Lunch Club Champion Fund
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.
In less than a year, the Lunch Club’s fundraising total now stands at over £11,000.
Lunch Club - ongoing event
Members of Stratford Lunch Club have been raising funds for Brain Tumour Support since October 2016.
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 now 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."
Going Sober - October 2016
Rachel Doyle gave up alcohol for a month and raised an amazing £1,142.89 to add to the Lunch Club's fundraising.
Lunch Club Summer Ball - 29th July 2017
This wonderful event was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stratford where 165 dinner guests enjoyed a fantastic evening.
It was compered by Karl Aust, who also led the charity auction, and was made possible thanks to great support from Kim Taylor, Sharon Clifford, Ully Dale and Marilyn Herdman, working with Jo in the organising team, and the generosity of local businesses including most of the restaurants in Stratford, hairdressers, the Everyman Cinema and the RSC.
The memorable evening raised an amazing £6,675.
Christmas Ball - TBA