Wednesday 23 November 2016 - 16:47:57 | TAGB News
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To Grand Master Oliver. Re: it’s the people that make TAGB great!
I know you probably know what a great organisation the TAGB is, however, I wanted you to also know how special the members are too!!!
My son, Jake (aged 9) and I currently train at Newcastle and Kidsgrove Taekwondo under the instructor Sir Fred Langston. My brother, Jason and his son, Callum (aged 16) and his daughter, Jasmine (aged 15) live in Liverpool and train with Sefton Taekwondo with instructor Sir Warren Vice.
April, 2016, our family was completely devastated by the news that unexpectedly my nephew Callum was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. He had to have immediate surgery to remove some of his spine and start very intensive chemotherapy.
My brother had to stay in hospital with his son 24/7 to care for him. He is a self-employed gas engineer, and therefore had no income coming in. Obviously, this was an added strain on our family as it meant that finances were also adding to his stress as we were unsure how we were going to pay bills due and look after everything.
This left him in a very vulnerable position both mentally and financially. I live in Stoke and also work full time, however, I travelled to Liverpool every Friday after work to help support them both financially and personally and returned to Stoke Sunday night. However, we are not an affluent family and debt began to become an issue.
Within four weeks, members of the Sefton TKD group had raised raffles to start to raise money.
The Holloran family did ‘name a bear’ to raise money, a black belt couple (Bev and Dave Seel) gave up their free time and gave training sessions on first aid to raise money as they are paramedics. Another member Simona Mada contacted me straight away to help, and we arranged a cake sale that raised over £500 in one day! All members from both clubs donated cakes to sell, and then most of them came and bought them back!! This was on top of visiting my brother and nephew in hospital and keeping them going with supplies!
Obviously, this was a small way towards paying bills, rent, travel costs etc. Therefore Sir Warren Vice initiated a TKD 24 hour fund raising event.
This was to be the event of all events! Samantha Smith, his fiancée began to start a raffle event to bring people to the event. She was relentless in her pursuit to gain gifts that could be raffled off. She trawled through Liverpool to gain gifts and I do not believe that there was one person left in the whole of the area that had not bought a raffle ticket from her!
Warren arranged and designed posters with Jasmine (Jason’s daughter) to make people aware of the event. Warren designed sponsorship forms that were then distributed throughout the two clubs to raise further funds.
Everyone took part in the fund raising, and donated gifts. There were hotel stays, paintballing events, a brand new bike and even a signed T-shirt from the GB team which was then supported by an appearance from Rachelle Booth from the team! Awesome!
For the event, Warren had called in some favours I believe from other instructors to help support the 24 timetable. During the whole time the following gave up their time to support. Below are a handful of those people:-
Alex McColl – Taught during the TKD session and gave valuable support to Warren and Sam in organising the event. Alex’s girlfriend Sam Anderton also supported by selling tickets, raising money and also attending the event. Alex also gave some 121 sessions as raffle prizes too.
Fred Langston – Taught during the TKD session, raised awareness at Newcastle and Kidsgrove club and also raised sponsorship money.
Brian Anderton – Taught during the TKD session, and also took photos of everyone that he then took the time to send to all the individuals free of charge. These were some of the best photos I have even seen, and take pride of place in my house!
Other Instructors that took responsibility for hours of the 24 hour event were:
James McGinn, Richard Saunders, Richard Jones, Jimmy Johnson, Roddie Milne. I’m sure they were many many more people, however, I don’t have all of their names.
On top of all of this, we had people attend the event from all over the country. People who didn’t belong to our two clubs attend, even people that had never done TKD before turn up! It was an amazing sight to see!
I have made some lifelong friends during this event.
A special family were the Holloran family. They were so supportive, and their daughter Amy – watch out for that one, that’s a future world champion if ever I saw one! David Burley who had his body waxed during the event to raise money! What a guy! Georgina Smith, Catherine Pearson, Lizzie McConville, Tom Urwin trained hard and helped people integrate and have fun too! Jo Lally did food along with many other people to keep us all going! So many people to mention them all!
Callum has now finished his treatment and is hopefully on the mend! He returned to training last week to a heroes welcome! It was brilliant!
I cannot tell you enough how wonderful these people are! My family cannot repay these people for their kindness and endless support!
They will forever be in my heart and have my undying gratitude for everything that they do, and continue to do for my family.
Obviously, in particular a very special couple Warren Vice and Samantha Smith get my heartfelt thanks. Without them, this would not have been possible!
It is true that TKD is more than just another organisation, the tenants that we teach, we live by!
The people are amazing! They are a formidable group of people that I am privileged to be a part of and call them more than friends, but part of my family.
I thank you again for taking the time to read my letter, and again I say, it certainly is the people that make TAGB great!