Gympanzees Fundraising Assistant Jenny Davies reflects on 2022, a year of fabulous fundraising and wonderful people coming together doing amazing things!
I started working for Gympanzees in March, and since then I have seen such extraordinary examples of generosity, kindness and the human spirit to want to help others. From young fundraisers whose siblings attend Gympanzees to corporate supporters who have got behind us as their Charity of the Year. So many people supported us on our mission this year, to provide accessible fun and fitness to children and young people with disabilities. Here are just some of the highlights!
Before we knew it, the Easter Pop up was upon us, and it was so lovely to welcome back lots of familiar faces and meet lots of new ones too! BBC Radio Bristol came along and captured what Gympanzees means for one of the families that use us.
Moving into Spring, we saw the debut of Gympanzees Charity Golf Day at The Bristol near Cribbs Causeway. Lots of fantastic businesses throughout the region supported us. And we were blessed with the most beautiful, sunny day! There were lots of “fours”, lots of fun, and a tremendous amount of generosity in the room at the post-round dinner!
Three Peaks Challenge
June came around in a heartbeat, and our walkers were all busy training for the mammoth task of taking on our annual Three Peaks Challenge.
This one is no mean feat!
Three of the tallest peaks in the UK climbed in just 24hrs! We set off from Bristol at 5 am on Saturday and drove in convoy to Scotland. There were around 35 walkers in total. All with one goal, to raise as much as possible to support Gympanzees.
The positivity amongst the group was admirable in some very tough conditions. Ben Nevis was cold, wet and windy, but the atmosphere and camaraderie was amazing. By the time they completed Peak 3 (Mount Snowdon) on Sunday evening, the pride and relief were clear to see. Congratulations to every person who took part. We salute you!
Jessica’s Sponsored Silence
There was another very special challenge that took place in June. A little girl called Jessica decided to do a sponsored silence to experience life through her brothers’ eyes. Jake is nonverbal, so Jessica, alongside her mum and dad (who amazingly also did 24hours each), didn’t talk, write or text for 48 hours!!! In support of her brother. We thought this was an amazing thing to do, and Jessica and her family raised a staggering £1640.
Summer Pop Up and the Superhero Series!
Summer Pop up time! Such a buzzy, happy environment and this time, the children got to take part in some fundraising activities. The Superhero Series was a chance for the children to give something back to the place they love so much. Each child took on a challenge, from a certain number of bounces on the trampolines to whizzing down the ramp or stepping on the Innowalk and they all did amazingly! They were such a credit to their families, and seeing them having so much fun in the process was fantastic.
Tucker Memorial Football Match
July also saw the very first Tucker Trophy memorial match. This was a very special football match to celebrate the life of a very special dad. We lost my dad back last year, he was a sportsman through and through and wholeheartedly believed everyone should be able to access leisure. He had the most amazing relationship with my son Flynn and I know he would be so proud to know that his life was celebrated raising money for such a special charity that enables children like Flynn to be able to access fun and fitness. It was a gorgeous summer evening with a great turnout of support and between them, the clubs did a fantastic job raising over £800.
Going the distance for Gympanzees
With the Summer Pop Up over in a flash and the children all back to school, it was back over to the grown-ups, and we had some brilliant teams taking part in runs across the city. JLL and Osborne Clarke had runners doing the Bristol Half. Meanwhile, Conscious Solutions took part in what many I’m sure would say was a more appealing Pizza Run! We also had some wonderful individual fundraisers taking part in both the Bristol and Bath Half Marathon.
We were also thrilled to be supported by “The Last Friday Ride”. A keen group of cyclists in Bristol raising money for Gympanzees by selling advertising space on their jerseys. They’ve done an outstanding job, and the jerseys looked top-notch!
Gympanzees Charity Ball
The Gympanzees Charity Ball was a breathtaking evening back in October. This year it was held at the stunning Mount Without in Bristol. The venue looked incredible in our Gympanzees colours! It was a very emotional evening with beautiful speeches from Stephanie Wheen, our CEO and Founder, and mum Kelly, who did a fantastic job explaining to the room just how vital Gympanzees is to their lives. Again, a room of the most generous, amazing people who want to see a permanent home for Gympanzees sooner rather than later.
We’ve seen some amazing fundraising from the children and young people that visit us. One little girl decided to cut her hair off to raise money for us, and the family have since been putting on car boots sales and selling sweetie cones! We also had a very lovely birthday fundraiser. Ayla-Grace is three years old, and for her birthday, rather than ask for toys, the family decided to ask for donations for Gympanzees. Seeing these acts of kindness from those so young is unbelievably heartwarming!
As I write, we have just celebrated our very first Gympanzees Ugly Christmas Jumper Day. In fact, our fabulous supporters have events going on all week and right through the month up to Christmas. There are carol services, Christmas quizzes, festive bake sales and even a ukulele concert! We are so touched by everyone’s enthusiasm and commitment to the cause.
From bake sales to quizzes, haircuts, sponsored silences and even leg waxes!! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Every event, no matter how big or small enables us to keep providing this invaluable service to our families all year round and keep moving ever closer to our forever home!
If you’d like to take part in your own fundraising event, sign up for a challenge or put Gympanzees forward as your organisations next Charity of the Year, Jenny and the fundraising team would love to hear from you.