Fundraising, and a tribute to Claire Squires

The first thing that I wanted to do when I left hospital for the first time in 2008, was give something back to the wonderful hospital and staff, that had saved my life. They had given me a lot of difficult treatment, and had looked after me, when I could do almost nothing for myself. They wanted nothing back from me and told me that it was their job.I had never been in a world like this before. I was used to doing something in return, mostly handing over money.

After a lot of thought, I decided that as I knew a lot of people, I would go round with my begging bowl and hopefully they would be as passionate about my cause, and donate some money.I also realised, like a business you have to explain clearly what you are raising money for, so that it just doesn’t go into a large pot., and you can’t see what effect your money has had. I discussed this with the hospital, and their need was specialist equipment. So my own charity was formed under the St Georges umbrella, and I could decide where the money was spent.

My friends supported me, and still do, and we have already purchased one major piece of equipment for my ward,(Ruth Myles) and are well on the way to our next target. ( For details of my fundraising just click on the tab on the home page of this blog, and you can see how we are progressing)

I have been fundraising for over four years, and I was interested in the psychology, of why people start it, and why people donate. I guess I am the classic example of why people do it, as I wanted to give something back.Other people have a passion or a family involvement or event, that triggers their interest in certain charities. Some people donate on a regular basis ,others, as a one off.

I started my charity as a legacy, which my wife and boys have promised to continue, as I can never forget what the hospital did for me and continue to do. As you can see, it is online and easy to donate to. The figure keeps increasing as people make generally smaller personal donations throughout the year, and we do a couple of fun evenings to boost the total.

Ironically, the more sick I was, the more money came in! Somehow, a tragedy triggers peoples emotions, and although they cannot directly influence that event, they find themselves wanting to make a financial contribution.I have also found that fundraising in the longer term has it’s own difficulties. There is an initial surge of interest, but then peoples lives change, and things happen within their families and their ‘giving focus’ changes.

Things have changed in the economy, since I started fundraising and people generally have less disposable income, but most people feel better about themselves after making whatever donation they can.

That brings me to the very sad case of Claire Squires, who as you know was running the London Marathon on behalf of The Samaritans, where her mum has worked for some time. That was her reason to raise funds. Her plan was to have some fun, and raise money for her favoured cause. This plan we know ended in tragic circumstances.

The fallout from what happened on Sunday, has been incredible. The world has come together for a common cause, to show their support for a woman who was raising money to help people she would never know. A truly selfless person. Ironically her fundraising has passed the £1m mark and is still rising. How did this happen so quickly?

Just Giving managing director Anne-Marie Huby described the public’s response as a spontaneous, “true gesture of sympathy” by thousands of ordinary people. The huge volume of low-sum donations to the site suggested that the public, while hard-pressed financially, were giving as much as they could manage, she added.

Fundraising experts say Squires’s story was always likely to unlock donor sympathy. Unpublished research by the Charities Aid Foundation shows that the single most important trigger for donors is feeling emotionally moved by someone’s story. The second most important is the tribute effect – the urge to give in memory of somebody.

What was unprecedented was the way social media and digital technology helped drive donations. Squires’s death happened at a public, emotionally charged event widely covered by mainstream press and TV. But Twitter and Facebook turned it into a shared story, while the simplicity and directness of online giving enabled people to give quickly and easily.
“What’s remarkable is how the page was fuelled by social media, more than we have ever seen before,” said Huby.

The above very sad story of Claire Squires, encompasses many of the things I have talked about in previous posts, but particularly the power of social media! Very quickly, people can be joined together under one common cause. It is an example of how one person can make a difference, and the world can know instantly!

Do you fundraise or give money to charity? What is your motivation? Please feel free to share your experiences


  1. I have started raising money not by running marathons but by walking. I have just taken part in Beefy’s Great British Walk a 4 mile walk with Sir Ian Botham and also plan to take part in the Jane Tomlinson Walk in the Yorkshire Dales later on in the summer – 14miles. I just want to give something back but also something towards my future needs, as I am in Remission and will most probably need the services of these Charities again. I have to do it while I can.
    I said started, but I have just remembered that I did a 14 mile Charity walk just after I had been diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma and told that I would die from it. I thought that it would be my first and last Charity walk, the motivation for that walk was my father, as it was in aid of Prostate Cancer sufferers.

    Not everybody can run marathons, walk or even volunteer for charities, and it often needs a shock, like a diagnosis of cancer or somebody dying too soon to give us the impetus to find a way of helping these charities, even if it is just giving money.
    Unfortunately our society needs charities and we have to give, just give in whichever way we can.

    • Hi Kath.
      Welcome to the Community.I have just had a brief look at your blog and you have certainly had some interesting experiences!Thank you for sharing some of those, as they are invaluable to others who think that they are the only people feeling like that.
      You are doing some fabulous things, with your walking, and from your journey it must seem great, that you are able to do this.
      I agree with you with that feeling of do it while you can! I think that when we have had the sort of experiences we have had, urgent has a new meaning!
      Fundraising has helped me in two different ways. It has given me a focus, and helped me give something back.You are right, about the shock too. If I hadn’t had my own diagnosis, I don’t think I would be doing the charity work I do now.
      Now I am deeply involved with it, and can see how difficult life would be without the charities that do such wonderful work and help people like us and our families.
      I look forward to welcoming you back to the blog soon

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