Bob Wilson grateful for Willow Foundation support after COVID pandemic left charity in 'great danger'

Willow co-founders Megs and Bob Wilson. Picture: supplied by Willow

Willow Foundation founders Megs and Bob Wilson. - Credit: Willow

Willow founder Bob Wilson has praised the charity’s board, team, volunteers and supporters for helping them survive during the COVID-19 pandemic, admitting they were in "great danger"’ due to fundraising challenges.

The former Arsenal goalkeeper set up Willow alongside his wife, Megs, back in 1999 in memory of their daughter Anna, who died of cancer aged just 31.

Since then, the charity – which has been based in Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield since its inception – has put on more than 17,000 Special Days for seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40.

Bob admitted the impact of the pandemic has hit Willow hard, with difficulties in holding traditional fundraising events putting their future in doubt, but he was grateful to the charity’s team for their support.

“It has been a nightmare in many respects,” he told the Welwyn Hatfield Times.

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“From the point of view of Megs and I, we’ve been involved in Willow for 22 years now and we will always be founders and life presidents.

“To be honest, the charity was in great danger during the pandemic. We rely on fundraising and events to continue our vital service, and through lockdown this was a huge challenge.

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“We really have to take our hats off to our whole team – our board, our staff, our volunteers and, of course, our loyal supporters. They told us they were going to help us fight this and they have been truly amazing.”

COVID-19 restrictions meant that Willow’s traditional Special Days had to be suspended, but they’ve worked hard to adapt and innovate, including creating new Positivity Packs – individual care packages for young men and women in end-of-life and palliative care.

“Positivity Packs have been incredibly well received by people because we’ve been able to give people a lift as a lot of them haven’t even be able to get the treatment they need.”

Willow’s charity shops in Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, Stevenage, Letchworth and Hemel Hempstead were able to reopen on April 12, much to the delight of staff and volunteers. 

To find out more and donate to the Willow Foundation, visit

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