This weekend I had the pleasure to represent Lifeblood (the thrombosis charity) at a cheque presentation. The members of Chesham Bowling Club have for the past year been raising awareness and donations in memory of their friend, grandmother, mother and wife Barbara Strudwick.
Barbara suffered a DVT in August 2013, she sadly passed shortly afterwards due to a Pulmonary Embolism. Barbara’s family approached Lifeblood and kindly offered to start fundraising for the charity. Over the year Tony (Barbara’s husband) and the members of Chesham Bowls Club have been fundraising in Barbara’s’ memory. Today I was privileged to receive a cheque for over £3,800 from Tony and the members of the Chesham Bowls Club.
To see the passion of remembrance and love for Barbara was inspiring and moving. The bowling clubs devotion to show their fondness and warmth for Barbara was the festive cheer and warmth that will make this year’s festivities one for me to remember.
I was met by Tony as I arrived at the bowls club and we chatted about the support that had been given to the fundraising campaign. Support from touring teams like the Dennyside Bowling Association, the Masonic Bowling Club, and the support from the Members (great coffee mornings with delicious bacon rolls) Tony’s passion and devotion to his wife was inspiring and this shone through with so many wonderful words of fondness spoken by all those I met.
As the club president spoke so warmly about Barbara and the fundraising that the club and others had undertaken to raise such a tremendous donation, he spoke with pride about the efforts of so many involved. Sadly other members of the bowls club had also passed due to thrombosis in the past, and they were also warmly remembered.
Then it was my turn to talk…….
During the drive down to Chesham with the lovely “E” as my cheery travelling companion, the circumstances and good fortune that came together allowing me the opportunity to be there in the first place seemed quite unfair. So with an air of quiet confidence (hiding the emotional wreck that I felt like) I stood and so began my first public words to the family and friends of Barbara Strudwick. To be stood in front of the members, Barbara’s daughter and Tony the unfairness of thrombosis was (to me) magnified. The personal desire to ensure the moment received the justice and respect it deserved was paramount.
I spoke about Lifeblood and all that the charity is undertaking to help raise awareness, care and research of thrombosis. The statistics relating to the number of people who are affected each year, and most importantly the true value of the bowling clubs donation.
Apart from nearly being upstaged by a toddler who wanted to play ball and cry, I think I faired rather well. No one fell asleep, no one got up and walked away and my now infamous last words to the lovely “E” of “I don’t think I feel too well” got a laugh…!!
It was a pleasure to have been invited down to Chesham Bowls Club to meet Tony and his daughter Helen, as well as the members of the club. The warmth and fondness that everyone expressed with regards to Barbara was inspiring and the support and comfort Tony has been shown is wonderful.
For my part, I know that I will never truly understand the emotions, pain and loss that Tony and his family have been through and in some respects are still going through. In a strange way I consider myself the lucky one, as amazingly I’m still here, I survived. But with a group of friends and a family like Tony’s around him, he will always be fine and the memory of his years together with Barbara will keep him strong.
So from someone who knows how lucky he is to still be here, to a group of family and friends who have sadly lost an amazing friend, grandmother, mother and wife, I thank you for the generosity of every one who helped raise such a fantastic amount for Lifeblood, quite literally every penny donated will work hard to raise awareness, improve the care of treatment and help in the development of vital research.