I am writing to you all now for two reasons; to thank you so much for your amazing support both online and in person at the memorial celebration held for Ben last Saturday at Blackburn Cathedral, and for the love you have shown my dear close friend Louise and her family. It has been so heartening to read your words, knowing Louise has your support. I know she has felt it, and that is invaluable.
However, I am also writing to ask for some further support in fundraising! But this time it is for Ben's wife Louise and their girls...
Ben, Louise and all of you raised so much for the charities, an incredible achievement of £45,000!
Ben’s work was about raising awareness, but also about being practical and raising money that could benefit the lives of other people diagnosed with cancer. Just as his was benefited by Beating Bowel Cancer and Rosemere.
But I would like to see us raise some funds for Louise and their girls, who have given so much.
When Louise told me she would be holding a memorial service at Blackburn Cathedral I was blown away. What a gift and a blessing to us all who have also known and loved Ben. A place where we could mourn him, and celebrate him, and come together. I couldn’t believe it.
For his wife to think of us at that time was just so unbelievably kind. To acknowledge that so many of us would want to remember him, way more than can fit into our local church, and to want to honour him and all of us by making a service that we could all attend is just so selfless and beautiful. I am so in awe of her.
The ball was set rolling and Louise got to work meeting all the relevant parties who made sure that everything was as affordable as possible- the flowers, design work and the Cathedral itself. This was going to happen and it was exciting! However, because Louise anticipated such a large turnout (700 attended!) it was clear that there would need to be a professional audio-visual set up so that everybody attending would be able to follow the service. This came to quite a large bill (even at a hefty discount!). When Louise told me how much it was I was a little shocked to say the least! And that she was happy to foot the bill for us, was just something else. She told me “I am willing and happy to do this because even though people say Ben was an inspiration and that he was important to them, I know he took inspiration from other people and they were equally important to him.”
But I can’t let her do it! And it turns out a few other friends who know what went on behind the scenes can’t either! She did this for us, and I would love us all to do this for her.
The amount needed to cover the extra costs of the memorial comes to approximately £5,000. It would be so brilliant if Louise didn’t have to use her savings for her and the girls to foot this bill. And, if we can raise a little bit more than that, I would love us all to thank her by giving her a little bit extra so that Louise and the girls can go on holiday together to have some special time.
I write this hopefully and happily, because I am so encouraged by the huge outpouring of love for Ben and his beautiful family!
Let’s do this!
Love Leila Xx