In our final 'meet the team' section, we hear from Annabel's best friend Tessa, who also happens to be the Annabel's Angels secretary. Take it away Tessa.... Hi, I’m Tessa and I live in Littleover, Derby with my husband Chris and two cheeky young daughters, Charlotte (7) and Isobel (very nearly 4). I was born in Derby and have lived here for most of my life apart from when I was studying at University. I work as a Social Worker/Care Manager in the Younger Adults Team at the Council House in Derby. I have worked there for 14 years and now feel I am part of the furniture! I find the work very rewarding, challenging but stressful!
How did you get involved with Annabel's Angels?
I met Simon through Annabel who was my closest friend, having met her whilst we were both studying ‘A’ levels at Wilmorton College. We developed a special friendship having a mutual sense of humour and zest for life, sharing lots of laughs along the way. I feel so fortunate having being part of her life as she was such a beautiful and selfless person. I was devastated when she passed away and I miss her every day. But what I have got which will never be taken away from me are the fond memories I have of her. Both Annabel and Simon have been a large and significant part of my life and since Annabel’s tragic death Simon and I have become closer friends. When Simon asked me to be part of Annabel’s Angels I jumped at the chance because I wanted to be part of such a worthy cause, helping and supporting people affected by cancer which also keeps Annabel’s memory alive.
I am so proud and privileged to be part of this group and this also allows me/AA’s the opportunity to continue Annabel’s legacy, continuing to support people affected by cancer like Annabel selflessly did when she was suffering pain and undergoing treatment.
I am the secretary of Annabel’s Angels and I try to get involved as much as possible in events and meetings. I feel very honoured to be given this role and even though I am not actively involved like other people are (who I find very inspirational), I feel I am doing as much as I can to make Annabel Angel’s a success. I would love to be more involved but I find it difficult juggling work and family and I feel I haven’t got the knowledge and expertise like other members have. I type minutes of our bi-monthly meetings and also support Simon as much as I can in offering help and advice, participating in fundraising events, presentations and development meetings with other agencies.
Give an example of what you’ve done and what you’ve learnt since getting involved.
I do as much as I can to become involved in any fundraising opportunities as I find it extremely rewarding, enjoyable and fulfilling. I take part in all that I can; including fundraising bag packs, bucket collections at Pride Park, setting up and co-ordinating the team for the Race for Life last July, and helping towards the charity auction in Derby. To be part of this group has made me realise how many people have or know people who have been affected by cancer. I hear lots of inspirational stories how even cancer sufferers like Annabel have reached out to support others. This I feel has helped me in becoming a better and less selfish person, and I've learnt not to take life for granted. I also lost my Mum to cancer last year and in reflecting upon this it makes me more determined to develop this group further and for it to become a successful charity.
How do you see Annabel’s Angels progressing?
Annabel’s Angels has been set up since May 2013. It has been a very successful year, considering how small the group is, and it's very positive to hear how nationwide the group has become. This I feel would not have been made possible without Simon's dedication and enthusiasm. I wish I shared his traits! He and other members have driven this group to be a success and I strongly believe that it will continue to thrive. Becoming a fully registered charitable trust will help us thrive even more too. It will give us more credence and illustrate how dedicated we are in aiming to improve the quality of lives of people affected by cancer and their carers. I have every belief that we will become a successful charity and I am proud to be part of it