Willow blog

Celebrating Christmas the Willow Way

December 8, 2017

A sold out audience enjoyed festivities at The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban on December 5 for Willow’s annual Carol Concert, joined by Willow Life Presidents Bob and Megs Wilson and raising more than £8,500.

Magical musical performances by the talented Hertfordshire Chorus and Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School Choir were mesmerising, plus readings by charity beneficiaries and local dignitaries.  Guests gathered after the performance for wine and mince pies, generously donated by Simmons Bakers. Charity beneficiary and fundraiser, Jackie Scully, shared her inspirational Special Day story, giving guests a real flavour of Willow’s purpose.   

After a marriage proposal on Christmas Day 2013, Jackie was on top of the world, just three weeks later she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer aged 32.   After months of surgery, gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Jackie and her fiancé, Duncan, were sent on the Orient Express by Willow for some much needed time out from the treatment and constant trips to hospital.  

“If serious illness has taught me anything about this beautiful world of ours, it is that life is too short to spend even a moment wishing it away.  When I reflect back over my treatment year, I don’t feel sad. I feel only gratitude. And that’s because of Willow.  In nearly losing my life, this incredible charity reminded me of all the wonderful things I had to live for.  Willow brought us together at a time that could have ripped us apart,” says Jackie.

Beautiful baubles adorned the Willow Tribute Tree in memory of loved ones, and a bauble procession saw Bob & Megs hang a bauble in memory of daughter, Anna, who was the inspiration for Willow.  Former Arsenal footballer, Alan Smith, placed a bauble representing the Charity’s Ambassadors and celebrity supporters, alongside representatives from Willow staff, Trustees and volunteers.

Willow Life President, Bob Wilson said: “A sold out crowd at this year’s Carol Concert made for a very special evening.  Seeing so many of Willow’s supporters, including those who themselves have benefitted from a Special Day, means a great deal to us.  We are so very grateful for everyone’s generosity which enables us to reach out to people in need this Christmas, and beyond.”

Over the coming months, Willow will receive more than 350 applications from people who are struggling to stay positive in the face of overwhelming news.  All donations, large or small will make a huge difference.  Donate to Willow’s Christmas Appeal at willowfoundation.org.uk/stephanie

The Willow Carol Concert is sponsored by St Albans based company Borras Construction. Staff at the company have been fundraising for Willow since 2008.

View photographs from the Carol Concert.

PHOTOGRAPHS: DEBBIE RAM PHOTOGRAPHY