On Thursday 11th February London’s iconic BT Tower once again generously opened its doors for a day of fundraising in aid of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, generating an incredible £51,250 via BT MyDonate for the Trust. The Trust’s work invites young people aged between 8-24 sailing to help them regain their confidence, on their way to recovery from cancer.
The day was a unique opportunity for those visiting, as the Tower’s rotating restaurant has been closed to the public since 1980 and last time public tickets were advertised around 30,000 people applied. At 189 meters high, the 34th floor is the equivalent to 24 double decker buses end-to-end and takes in the spectacular views of London that on a clear day can stretch as far as the QE2 Bridge in Dartford and Wembley Stadium.
The day was kicked off bright and early by Dame Ellen MacArthur on the 34th floor where guests were treated to stunning sunrise views across the city and breakfast, whilst gaining more insight into the Trust and meeting with those who have benefited from their opportunities.
Dame Ellen said, “This is a hugely important day for the Trust, and can only happen thanks to the generosity of BT who provided us with such a spectacular and central location in London. This has allowed us to spend time with guests to communicate about the Trust and how it benefits the young people we support.”
Following on from the breakfast, the Trust organised a lunch for key supporters, and an exclusive champagne afternoon tea. Powersail’s Jamie and Sarah Griffin were thrilled to attend the afternoon tea and show their support for a charity close to their hearts. Jamie has worked for the Trust as a skipper and has witnessed first-hand the positive effect the time spent with the Trust has on young people. Sarah is also a huge fan of the Trust, having worked with them on a number of occasions during her time at Isle of Wight Radio and also as a volunteer for the charity during last year’s Round the Island Race.
The day was closed with a black tie dinner and auction, where Dame Ellen MacArthur was joined on stage by Mark Stevens to explain the impact of the Trust’s work. Mark, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia aged 21, sailed with the Trust during his recovery from cancer going on to take part in the famous Fastnet Race. Mark went on to return to University and graduated with a First Class Honours. Seven years on from his diagnosis he now works as a Trading Operations Manager at J. P. Morgan.
Mark provided his own reflection of the day and the help he has received from the Trust: “This is one of the Trust’s biggest days of the year, which allows the opportunity to spread the word, for me it is a chance to give my time back to them and put their hard work into context. The trips have had a huge impact on my life, the first trip especially was really the catalyst to continuing my studies and finishing my degree, by reviving my confidence and helping me realise that much more was possible. I still benefit, even this many years later, and I hold onto those experiences and learning curves from the trip and apply them to my life today.”
The £51,250, raised via BT MyDonate will allow 95 young people to join the Trust on trips over the summer. The Trust receives no government funding and does not charge fees, they therefore rely 100% on voluntary funding. This year the Trust is looking to take 707 young people out on the water on both First Time trips and Return to Sail trips.
To help the Trust make a real difference to the lives of Young People recovering from cancer please visit: ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org