In this week's meet the team, we hear from Matt, or as we like to call him, the tea boy. He's one of those guys who always seems to know someone to help with something, no matter what the issue is. A fundraiser, a fixer. Read on: Who are you?
I'm Matt, Simon's better looking brother. I'm 36 years old and I live in Derby with my amazing wife Elle and two awesome boys Ethan and Ashton. I've been working in logistics at Rolls-Royce for almost ten years now. My wife Elle works at Pride Veterinary Centre and my two boys attend Chellaston junior and Chellaston infant school and are both doing pretty well. These guys are my world.
I love football. I co-run a local football team and love watching the Rams at the stadium when I can, and Chelsea on the box. I love boxing too. I'd love to see a big fight in Las Vegas one day. I have a cross breed dog called Nikita who is now 13 years old but still going strong even if a little scatty.
How did I get involved?
As soon as my brother decided to go ahead with the Annabel's Angels idea I was 100% behind him and I always will be. Losing my sister-in-law Annabel hit me and all of us hard, and I can't imagine what my brother went through. I have so much respect,admiration and pride towards him. He is such an inspirational person and drives on others as did Annabel and its a testament to them both to gather such a great team with a vast amount of different skills. Obviously with being Simon's brother I will support him in anything he does so this was obviously a NO brainer.
How involved are you/ what do you do?
To be truly honest I am not as hands on as some of the other guys (who are amazing) but I attend every meeting and I am chief tea maker. I also sample and make sure all the biscuits and cakes are edible for the other members. I enjoy that part of the role. I chip in with the odd ideas for fundraising and also attend the community events whenever I can. I like to think I have lots of contacts in the local area, people and businesses to call upon for support.
How do I think we are doing and what have we achieved?
For saying we are only approaching our first year it has been an amazing, emotional and truly fullfilling year. We have achieved so much from setting up all the Race for life events around the UK, my brother and his boys Will and Sam opening the Derby Race for life, the bucket collection at the Derby v Leeds game, bag packs at Asda, fun days at Betty's Farm, ongoing donations, sales and many more. One of the highlights for me was to be asked along with nine other local causes and charities to take part in the Guinness world record Grand Charity auction at the Westfield. This was such a privilege as we are such a new charity and any others could have been asked. But for me the highlight was the generosity of the people who donated all the prizes and lots to our cause ( it was truly unbelievable). To be tasked with getting 150 lots and already 4-5 months behind everybody else was always going to be difficult for us. But we managed to make the right contacts and pull the donations in. Helping out on the day with our team and the volunteers from the other charities is something I will never forget.
But the proudest moment/moments have definitely been the 'giving back to others'. From the money we have raised through fund-raising, we have now provided the combined day unit with funding towards some new blood pumps, and also provided the Derby Breast Cancer Support Group with sufficient funds to purchase a range of specialist mastectomy bras ( around 35 ) for women post surgery. We will be passing on more funding to local groups in the coming months so WATCH THIS SPACE! My own personal highlight was running the four X runner 10k obtacle courses throughout 2013. Boy, was this tough, not just physically but mentally and emotionally too. I decided to raise money and awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support who helped Annabel so much during her cancer journey. With so much generosity from friends, family and work colleagues I raised a total of £1237 which I am very proud of.
How do I see Annabel's Angels progressing?
I see Annabel's Angels progressing rapidly this year. We have a few more members to add to the committee team and we are looking at becoming an official charity later this year. We have loads more fundraising events happening including several bag packs at Asda, the Race for Life events, a firewalk, a Ben Nevis climb. There's even talk of a skydive. So watch this space. I would just like to keep giving back and helping any way I can with the charity and building on the relationships that we have with our friends Macmillan Cancer Support, the combined day unit, Derby Breast Cancer Support Group, Mummy's Star and hopefully many more.
I would also like to help people who are in different situations to my brother, e.g, single parents with cancer, people with cancer who might not have anyone to talk to, to help them share their thoughts, questions etc and to help families address the financial impact of living with cancer. Don't get me wrong, what my brother went through and still goes through from time to time is horrific and trust me I have witnessed it, but he has a large network of family and friends around him to get him to where he is today. But not everybody has that and they need that support and others to talk to, and hopefully we can do something to help address that. We need to remember too that it's not just the cancer patient going through hell, but also the husband/wife/partner/parent who automatically becomes a carer overnight and the worst case scenario if the person passes away means it's the husband/wife/kids that need some kind of support.
I hope I haven't bored anyone with this ramble. If you feel you could add to the team, have some ideas or just need a chat then please like and message the Annabel's Angels Facebook page. We'll be pleased to hear from you.
Here's to an exciting and hopefully great 2014.
Thanks for everybody that has supported, and is supporting, our charity, and to those who are helping my brother and the kids, and looking out for others affected by cancer. Let's keep it going.