The Willow Foundation - 10 years on
TEN years ago, a charity was set up providing special days out for 16 to 40-year-olds suffering with life threatening illnesses. It was formed by former Arsenal goalkeeper and television presenter Bob Wilson and his wife Megs – with backing from the very
TEN years ago, a charity was set up providing special days out for 16 to 40-year-olds suffering with life threatening illnesses.
It was formed by former Arsenal goalkeeper and television presenter Bob Wilson and his wife Megs - with backing from the very start by the WHT - in memory of their daughter Anna, who had died the previous year from cancer, aged 31.
They called it the Willow Foundation, after the nickname they had given to Anna when she was a girl.
In its first year, the charity provided 17 special days out. This year, it will provide almost 1,500.
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Bob and Megs joined staff and trustees at the Willow Foundation headquarters in Salisbury Square, Old Hatfield, to mark its first, highly successful decade.
And the timing could not have been better, as the landmark anniversary coincided with the 5,000th special day organised by the foundation.
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Aspiring journalist Ross Pollock travelled from his home in Scotland to London to meet GQ editor Dylan Jones this week as his special day.
Ross, 21, who is living with testicular cancer, said: "Living with a life-threatening condition is tough for anyone in any circumstance though I managed to pull through by keeping an upbeat attitude and positive outlook on life.
"Knowing that there is a charity out there to help brighten someone's day during dark times is truly marvellous and for that I cannot thank everyone at the foundation enough."
Despite the landmark, Bob insisted there is still much more to accomplish in the coming years.
"Making a difference to Ross and people like him has such an impact on their lives and we're so proud to have achieved 5,000 of these special days," he said.
"We're grateful to all our supporters who have made these days possible but need even more support to achieve our ultimate goal of a special day for every seriously ill 16 to 40 year old in the UK.