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Strong Soham Mums make a date for fund-raising in charity calendar


By Newsdesk Newmarket


Strong Mums: Back from left, Lesley Webster, Lesley Allen, Alison Fitt and Tanya Allen. Middle row, Claire Danks, Nicola Wells and Carol Brannan, with Natasha Green holding a copy of the calendar
Strong Mums: Back from left, Lesley Webster, Lesley Allen, Alison Fitt and Tanya Allen. Middle row, Claire Danks, Nicola Wells and Carol Brannan, with Natasha Green holding a copy of the calendar

A group of women, who have all endured the tragedy of the death of a child, have got together to produce a calendar to raise money for causes close to their hearts.

The 2019 calendar features pictures of the 12 members of the Strong Soham Mums in the style of the award-winning Calendar Girls film, with their modesty preserved in a number of ingenious ways by photographer Alicia Marshall.

The group and the calendar were the brainchild of Alison Fitt, whose 15-year-old son Charlie died in Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in June 2017 from a rare immune condition called LRBA deficiency, five months after receiving a bone marrow transplant.

“I put a post on Facebook saying ‘who’s up for this?’ and none of them took much persuasion to do it,” said Alison, who has found the group a great source of strength.

“I know the others have all been there and so it’s easier to be with them because everyone knows what we have all been through – losing a child gives you a different perspective on life,” said Alison.

Among other mothers featured in the calendar are Claire Danks, whose 22-year-old daughter Lauren, was killed by a drink-driver who failed to stop after driving into her car at over 100mph on the A14 at Barton Mills in November 2016, and Nicola Wells, whose daughter Holly was 10 years old when she was murdered in August 2002 in a crime which shocked the nation.

The front of the 2019 calendar, which goes on sale from October 5 onwards and can be bought in Soham shops and online at strongsohammums.co.uk
The front of the 2019 calendar, which goes on sale from October 5 onwards and can be bought in Soham shops and online at strongsohammums.co.uk

Nicola’s sister, Lesley Allen, whose 23-year-old son Thomas lost his life on Christmas Eve 2012 when his car hit a horse which had strayed on to A14 near Ipswich, is also a member of the group.

Another Strong Soham Mum is Sarah Fairhurst, whose son Liam was diagnosed with synovial carcinoma in June 2005 and, inspired by the death of his hospital friend Jack Wilkinson, set about fund-raising. Despite the ups and downs of his own condition, brave Liam was personally responsible for raising £340,000 for Clic Sargent, the fund for children with cancer and their families, plus a further £7 million by heading a campaign for charity before he died in June 2009, three months after his 14th birthday.

Sarah said that the Strong Soham Mums were a group of ‘inspirational women’.

“They have made me realise that experiencing every mother’s worst nightmare does not define what we are as people. It is about saying you can move on in your life, always carrying your child with you,” said Sarah.

The other women in the calendar, each of whom features on the page for a month are: Carol Brannon, Sheila Abbott, Tanya Allen, Louise Scarrow, Lesley Webster-Chivers, Natasha Green and Emma Carter-Burch.

The calendar, which will raise money for the children’s wards at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Road Victims’ Trust, is to be launched at a get-together at the Red Lion, Soham, on October 5 attended by the mums, their families, friends, sponsors and other people who have helped along the way.

It will go on sale at shops in Soham at £9.99 and will also be available by mail order by contacting the website from October 5 onwards.



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