Unveiling of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Memorial
On July 6th the Indian Ocean Tsunami memorial was unveiled at a ceremony attended by the Prince of Wales and the Dutchess of Cornwall. It was also attended by bereaved families and survivors of the Boxing Day 2004 disaster. The 115-tonne granite block lies in the gardens of the Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum. The sculpture is inscribed with the names of the 153 people from the UK who lost their lives that terrible day.
Prince Charles lays a wreath with the Dutchess of Cornwall looking on
This picture is a close up of the Memorial dedication on the front face of the granite block
A white rose overlies Charlotte's name
Onion Fest 2011 is now scheduled for Saturday 30th July. It is our major fundraising event of the year and in 2010 it raised £12,500 for the students in Thailand. It only takes place because of the extraordinarily hard work of a small band of Charlotte's close friends and so it is fitting that Onion Fest won the Event of the Year category of the 2011 Business and Community Awards, organised recently by the Life in Petersfield magazine. In 2010, Char's Fund won the Charity of the Year award. So very well done to all the events team (not all could be there on the night) and we look forward to another successful year.
Delerious at gaining the award ....
Third from the left are Josy, Sarah, Rachel and Becky
Still most happy, a bit later at the bar....
Left to right are Sarah, Becky, Rachel and Josy
The pictures are courtesy of Michel Focard de Fontefiguieres
2011 Reading Half Marathon
Early on Sunday 20st March 2011, Team Char's Fund joined some 12,000 other runners for the annual 13.1 miles run around Reading. Cool but dry, the five runners this year had wide ranging finish times........
The times were Anna (1:55:55), Kate (1:57:24),Vicki (2:14:03), Sarah (3:06:16 - her first Half)) and Alan right at the very back breaking 3 hours for the very first time at 3:26:06.. He was 12,472nd!... He said that what was so embarrassing was he was overtaken at the very end by a fish and a chip (2 + 1 Reading Firemen) and one hairy scrotum (testicular cancer)!!....
Once again, we would like to sincerely thank all our magnificent sponsors so very much for their generosity. Sponsorship monies are still coming in but it is likely we will break last year's record with over £5,250 in total raised towards the charity's sponsored students in Thailand.
Walking to the start
Left to right are Vicki, Alan and Sarah
Backing up at the start....
Left to right are Kate, Sarah, Vicki and Alan
Team Char's Fund at the start
Left to right are Kate, Sarah, Anna, Vicki and Alan
The front runners at the finish
Left to right are Anna and Kate
Boxing Day 2010 approaches
As the sixth 'anniversary' of the Indian Ocean Tsunami approaches, it seemed fitting to pay tribute to Char and make available another one of that precious set of very last pictures ever taken of her.
Please also click on the November 2010 newsletter (left) and you will find a most apt poem by W.B. Yeates dedicated to her memory.
Char, 'dancing upon the shore'
Siam Bay, Racha Yai, Thailand, Christmas Day evening 2004
UK Tsunami Memorial Update
Plans to erect a memorial to all 151 UK citzens who died on Boxing Day 2004 are finally progressing and the Memorial design has now been revealed. Please see left for a recent press release from TSUK and also click on the November 2010 newsletter (left) for a summary.
Mock up of proposed UK Tsunami Memorial, Natural History Museum, London
Onion Fest 2010
At the end of July, the 6th annual 'boutique' music festival fundraiser was held and with a circus theme this year. The biggest so far, yet another record was broken with some £12,000 going into the charity funds that support the scholarships of 15 young students in Thailand. Absolutely fantastic and thank you so much to all for your support!
For more details, please click on the August 2010 newsletter (left)
Some of the 'crew' pose in front of the festival entrance
Left to right are Rosie, Sarah, Rachel, Josy and Olivia
Picture courtesy of the Petersfield Herald
Some clowning around......
Picture courtesy of the Petersfield Herald
The fabulous SpinSity
Top to bottom are Rachel & Sam
Trustee's 2010 Thailand visit
In March, two of the charity Trustees, Sarah and Becky, visited the students in Phuket. They were also accompanied by Josy Spooner, another of Char’s close friends and a key member of the Onion Fest committee. They also visited the island of Ko Racha Yai (Raya Yai). Visiting Siam Bay was a poignant moment for all, especially for Becky. For more details please see the May charity newslettter (left).
14- year old 'Golf' is one of the charity's brand new students. He 'proudly'
wears one of last year's Onion Fest t-shirts…
Students, Teachers, Trustees and Raya Divers staff in Chalong Bay.
Pornakamoni Khaoudee ('Mink'), aged 18, also
wearing an Onion Fest t-shirt.
7- year old 'Pukky' is the second of the new students, taking the total now supported to 15.
Char's Fund wins an award!
Not really expected at all but Char's Fund was shortlisted in the Charity of the Year category of the 2010 Business and Community Awards, organised by Life in Petersfield magazine. But even more of a surprise was to hear Char's Fund's name being called out as the winner at the Awards ceremony on the evening of Friday 16th April at Petersfield Festival Hall.We would like to thank everyone - original proposers, the judging panel and all - for this great honour.
Presentation of the Award
Liz holds the certificate, with Alan on her left.
The picture is courtesy of Michel Focard de Fontefiguieres
Left to right are Liz, Alan and Vicki
2010 Reading Half Marthon
Early on Sunday 21st March 2010, Team Char's Fund joined the assembled mass of runners for the annual 13.1 miles run around Reading. The rain stopped, the clouds cleared and we ran in warm sunshine....
Steve came in first with an astonishing time of 1 hour and 44 minutes, his first ever half marthon. Kate came into the Madejski stadium with a personal best time of 1:57, cracking the 2hr barrier for the first time, closely followed by Vicki at 2:11, again in another personal best. Alan limped in a little bit further behind in 'personal worst' (!) of 2:53....
We would like to sincerely thank all of our magnificent sponsors so very very much for their kindness and generosity. Sponsorship monies are still coming in but it is now looking almost certain that we will break last year's record with over £5,000 in total raised towards the charity's sponsored students in Thailand (please see February's newsletter - left).
Team Char's Fund gets ready.
Left to right are Steve, Alan, Vicki and Kate
The Asian Tsunami - 5 years on
Boxing Day 2009 saw renewed media interest in the awful events of five years ago. There were also special ceremonies in the affected countries, including Thailand.
For more, please see the November issue of the Charity Newsletter, left, which carries some personal reflections.
And on the kind invitation of BBC Breakfast, the Charity Chair, Alan Jones, gave several live interviews through Boxing Day morning on Char and the work of the charity.
Here Alan is pictured next to BBC Presenter Louise Minchin.
Please click here to watch the interview.
Onion Fest 2009
July saw the 5th annual 'boutique' music festival that is OnionFest, the biggest fund raising event in the yearly calender for Char's Fund.
Friendly, fun and fantastic!
The weather gods were again very kind this year and not a drop of rain fell. The African theme was entered into with great gusto by some with witch doctors, voodoo mamas and lionclothes a-plenty...
Provisionally it looks like all records have been broken with in excess of £10,000 going into charity funds, assuring the scholarships of the young students in Thailand well into 2011 and beyond. Thanks so much to all for their continuing support.
This year, Char's friends Rachel Edmondson and Sam Waterhouse exploded back onto the scene having metamorphosed the Onionettes into the Spin Sity pole dancing troupe.
And a real family day out it was too with the face painter being particularly busy. We also welcomed our first octogenerians this year, their first ever rock' festival, which they said they would not have missed for the world.....
Here's to Onion Fest 6 in 2010...
Pictured left to right are Alan, Caroline Fry and Piere de Loup.
Also at OF09, a wonderful donation of £1000 was
gratefully received from the Mrs FB Laurence Charitable
Sky Diving for Char's Fund
On Saturday April 18th, after nervously hanging around for most of the day because of the fog, Becky, Sarah and Clare successfully completed their sponsored skydiving jump and in the process raised a magnificent £530 for the charity.
Ready to go
Left to right are Becky, Sarah and Clare
This is what Clare had to say about her adventure: "I had a great time doing my skydive and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. I'm really pleased that I managed to raise some money for a really worthwhile cause".
And Becky added: "I was very nervous in the morning but after the training we were pumped up and couldn't wait to throw ourselves out of a plane! It was an awesome experience and something that everyone should do! It was quite scary looking out of the door of the plane at 10,000ft and the free fall at 120mph was such an amazing rush and then I got to steer the parachute. I was shaking with adrenaline afterwards. If it's something you'd want to do, then you have to do it!.....We'll definitely be doing it again, soon!
For links to the video rides, please see
2009 Reading Half Marathon
Early on Sunday 29th March, Vicki, Alan, Ben and Kate joined around another 18,000 runners for the annual 13.1 miles run around Reading.
Cool but sunny, they all completed the race and early indications are that they will have raised over £5,000 for the charity.
We would like to thank all our magnificent sponsors so very much. Ben came in first with an amazing time of 1 hour and 33 minutes, Kate came into the Madejski stadium with a time of 2:12 and closely followed by Vicki at 2:18. Alan was a bit further behind at 2:40 .
The full team gets ready.
Left to right are Kate, Ben, Vicki and Alan
Minutes to go
Oh the joy to finish!
Some time later, chez Petersfield...
Spring 2009 Trustee's Meeting
On Saturday 28th March, the Trustees of Char's Fund met for their Spring gathering.
Pictured left to right are
Danielle, Alan, Liz, Vicki, Pee and Becky.
Neville was unable to attend.
Christmas 2008 saw Liz, Vicki & Alan returning to Thailand to meet the students that Char’s Fund supports and also to return to the island of Ko Racha Yai. The exciting news from the students is that two of the girls are considering University in 2009 and we have assured them that their bursaries will continue (including their tuition fees). On Boxing Day 2008, Char was honoured and remembered by two simple water ceremonies.
Char's Students, Chalong Bay, December 19th 2008.
The girls enjoy....
Siam Bay, December 26th 2008.
A wonderful donation to the Fund
On the 13th December 2008, in celebration of Maggie & Stuart Holden’s 40th Wedding Anniversary, sixty of their friends and family including Alan and Liz (who, as usual, were the last to arrive!) gathered for lunch at the Hotel du Vin in Henley.
Stuart and Alan shared a flat together whilst at Brunel University and became firm friends (despite the York/Lancs divide!) during the ‘hedonistic’ 1960s! Alan, therefore, was the obvious choice to be Best Man at Maggie & Stuart’s wedding. The friendship with Alan and Liz has remained strong over the past 40 years.
Maggie is at the back (second from the left, next
to Liz) as is Stuart (second from the right, next
Maggie, Stuart and their daughters, Becky and Caroline, knew Charlotte from birth. Because of this, and the timing of the celebration, it seemed completely appropriate to ask the guests to make a donation to Char’s Fund in place of any gift they may have bought for Maggie & Stuart.
The family and friends responded magnificently with a resulting total of approximately £1140 donated. Maggie & Stuart have been overwhelmed by such generosity and are sure the money will be well used as a fitting tribute to Charlotte.
Thank you so much everyone!
Running for Char
Great South Run, Portsmouth. October 2008
10 miles isn't far for some but for two of the most un-athletic people you are likely to meet, it was a challenge!
Having completed the race course in under 2 hours, we are proud of what we achieved but most of all we feel privileged to have known Char, someone who in life and in death inspires her family and friends to push the boundaries.
It was poignant for us to cross the finishing line in a city where we had so many memories of Char - silly memories really - cinema trips with boyfriends in our early teenage years, tacky night clubs, catching the ferry over to the Isle of Wight or girlie shopping trips!
We did the race for Char and she definitely kept us going at the most difficult points. We hope that we can all continue to take on new and exciting challenges just like Char did. Thank you to everyone who sponsored us and cheered us on in the pouring rain - together we have raised over £1,000 for Char's Fund!
Our Work In Thailand
Three New Children
Tanapol Sittipoljareon (Mai)
Was born on the 24th December 2533 (1990), the year of the horse, and he is now sixteen.
He writes, ‘I like playing football and table tennis and my favourite food is fried rice with eggs and krapraw (herbs)
I would like to be a doctor when I qualify in order to help human beings who are sick or injured.
At present I am living with a friend at 70/9, Muang Phuket Lane and am in secondary year 4 at Muang Phuket School..
My father is Mr Somboon Sittijareon, a builder and my mother is Mrs Juraiporn Panurai. She works for the Electricity Board.
I don’t have my own family as my parents are divorced. I live with my friend and I don’t have much money to live on. That’s why I applied for help from Char’s Fund. It is making me much happier now as I am not a burden to my friend’s parents. I can now afford to go to school and pay for books, food and transport. Thanks so much.
I love Char’s Fund.’
Narapong Nogsunteer (Boom)
He was born on 6th June 2535 (1992) at Maharat Hospital, Nakornrachasima and is now fifteen years old. His address is 185/10 Mu 2, Wiset Road, Thumbol Rawai, Aumpur Muang, Phuket.
He writes, ’I am the second child of two and my brother is at college in Sagaw Province. My favourite subfects are English, Maths and Science and I would like to be a psychologist one day. My father, Som Nogsunteer, is a soldier and my mother, Mrs Oranooj, is a labourer. Since their divorce I live with my mother and she only earns 4,500 Baht per month, which is not enough to pay the rent and my school fees.
Char’s Fund will be a great help to my mother and she will be able to afford my bus fare to school, the cost of school activities, books etc. Char’s Fund has been a great encouragement to me and I now look forward to being educated and facing the future. I really appreciated it.
My favourite saying is, ‘Stop the past; start the future.’’
Tonnagrit Siripangawong (Boy)
Was born on 20th January 2535 (1992) and is now fifteen.
He writes, ‘I live at 70/9 Mu 5, Muang Phuket Lane, Wiset Road, Thumbol Rawai, Aumpur Muang, Phuket Province 83130.
Father, Mr Teerasit Siripanyawong, is an air conditioning mechanic, earning only 6,000 – 8,000 Baht a month and mother, Mrs Somsri, is a housewife.
He writes, ‘I am in year 4 at Muang Phuket School and I have a younger sister, who is in year 1 at the same school. We used to receive 40 Baht as pocket money each day but this was reduced to 30 Baht. Then we have a friend who lives with us because his parents are separated; his mother lives in Surathani and his father in Phuket town. So there are five of us in the family, which is why I decided to apply for help from Char’s Fund. Now we are much happier as we can buy school uniforms, books, pens, pencils, rulers, etc.
The three of us have much more money and we are very, very grateful to Char’s Fund.’
Alan, Liz and Vicky were in Thailand over Easter 2007 and met the children for the first time. They say it was a most uplifting experience. And the teachers they also met said that probably folk had no real idea on what a huge difference the scholarships were making to the children's lives.
Monies raised for the Fund have now reached £58,865 of which some £5845 has already gone directly to Muang Phuket School in Thailand to support 13 children there aged between 12 and 17 (mostly girls) on long term educational bursaries. We have received individual letters from each of the children (in Thai) and this is what 16 year-old Kachornsri Tannucroh had to say: "I deeply appreciate the scholarship you have given me and I will use it to my utmost to improve my education". Kachornsri comes from a broken family and lives with her sister in rented accommodation. She has now moved on from the School and has to support herself at Phuket College where she is on a Business Studies course.
We have replied to each child (in English!) to let them to know more about Char and where she came from and what she was doing in Thailand.