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Over 100 people attended the 2017 Chestnut Tree House Business Awards ceremony, which took place at South Lodge Hotel on Thursday 9 March.
Hosted by local broadcaster, Marcella Whittingdale, and one of the charity’s Patrons, Ambrose Harcourt, the third biennial Business Awards recognised and rewarded the many businesses and individual employees who have been outstanding in their support of Chestnut Tree House.
Hugh Lowson, Chief Executive of Chestnut Tree House said, “We created these awards as a way to recognise the many companies and individual employees who have raised significant funds for us in a variety of innovative ways. There are potentially 1,000 families with life-limited children in Sussex, and with less than 7% of our funding coming from central government, it is only through the ongoing support and generosity of our local community that we are able keep our doors open and reach out to all the children and families who need our help. Our heartfelt thanks go out to all of the local businesses and individuals for everything they do to support us. The award entries this year were of a very high standard so choosing the winners was not an easy task!”
The winners and grand finalists in the eight categories were chosen based on a variety of different criteria, including outstanding team work and innovation. There were nearly 100 nominations, which were narrowed down by a panel of judges – Amanda Menahem, a board member of Coast 2 Capital local enterprise partnership; Hugh Lowson, Chief Executive of Chestnut Tree House; Tim Breden, Chestnut Tree House Patron and Managing Director of Yomdel Ltd; and Maarten Hoffmann, co-Founder and Publisher of Platinum Business Magazine.
Jamie Westley has been supporting Chestnut Tree House since 2014 when he became the charity representative for G4S. Since taking part in the Three Peaks Challenge, which the G4S team completed in 24 hours, Jamie has organised numerous charity events, including a 7km obstacle race, paintballing days and auctions.
In addition to this, Jamie set up the official Chestnut Tree House football team, organising matches against corporate organisations and community teams. He has introduced celebrities to the charity, including Chris and Stephen from Gogglebox, Big Brother 2016 winner Jason Burrill, Emmerdale star Danny Miller and TV presenter Jeff Brazier. In the football team he has recruited ex-Brighton & Hove players Kerry Mayo and Guy Butters, 2013 MasterChef winner Steven Edwards and YouTube stars Joe Weller and Stuggy.
To date, Jamie has been instrumental in raising over £38,000 for Chestnut Tree House.
Grand Finalists: Nick Coppin (Arundel) and Ritu Gupta (Chichester)
When Pyroban chose to support Chestnut Tree House they set themselves a team target of £10,000. As part of the partnership, Pyroban wanted to engage all their staff in the fundraising activities, and a presentation from Chestnut Tree House about the care services the charity provides inspired the whole team to raise as much money as possible.
Fundraising activities included an Easter Egg Tombola, a curry event and a cycling challenge in Normandy, and they also entered teams in the Great Sussex Bath Race and Chestnut Tree House’s Sussex 100 Cycle Challenge. One of the Pyroban team members took on the hospice’s £50 Challenge and sold items on eBay, raising £950; and another added £750 to the fundraising pot by taking part in a banger racing event. Pyroban also donating over 25 presents for the children at Christmas.
These various fundraising activities helped the Pyroban team to exceed their £10,000 target.
Grand Finalists: Lloyds Bank (Brighton & Hove) and Willmott Dixon (Cobham, Surrey)
Founded by Neil Laughton in 2013 to support Chestnut Tree House and Lifecentre, the Great Sussex Bath Race is designed to be a team-building, fundraising, raft-racing tournament. Each team is set a target to raise a minimum of £1,000, which is then split equally between the two charities. Teams are invited to bring supporters to the event – customers, colleagues, friends and family – helping to raise awareness and introduce Chestnut Tree House to new prospective supporters.
The Great Sussex Bath Race committee engaged with numerous companies who committed to supporting the event by giving their time or goods or services. Some of these companies have gone on to become supporters of Chestnut Tree House, such as children’s entertainer, Tom Foolery, who now donates £120 of each party he books on a Tuesday.
The total funds raised to date exceed £60,000 with more to be generated at the 2017 event.
Grand Finalists: Avro Yachting (Winchester) and Basepoint (Shoreham)
Set up by Westley Waller, John Rampton and Nikki Waller in 2012, the Teddy Bear Run invites car enthusiasts to join in a drive to the hospice to deliver teddy bears for the children.
The first Teddy Bear Run was made up of 30 cars, which increased to 60 the following year and to over 100 by 2016. The children at Chestnut Tree House are not only given the opportunity to see the fantastic cars, but also sit in them. One parent said her dreams came true to see her child out of his wheelchair sitting in a Ferrari and smiling. The Barclays-sponsored event has grown year-on-year and various companies have been involved, including Harwoods and Goodwood.
In 2013 the event raised over £6,850, paying for a day of care at the hospice on 14 December 2014. Last year’s Teddy Bear Run raised over £7,300, and the event is back this year to see if they can beat this.
Grand Finalists: Willmott Dixon (Cobham) and Your Service Centre Gatwick (Gatwick)
LawlerDavis Ltd has been supporting Chestnut Tree since 2015, with directors Sarah Lawler and Colin Davis adopting a varied and dedicated approach to fundraising and motivating their team to get involved.
Sarah took part in the Chestnut Tree House China Trek, persevering during physical injuries to complete the challenge. She not only raised a fantastic amount, but also used it as an opportunity to increase awareness. Colin worked with Sarah to organise a successful Black and White Ball in 2015, and then went on to take part in the South Coast Challenge. Colin also recommended Chestnut Tree House as the beneficiary of Senlac Car show via his connections as a Rotarian, and has spoken at a Chestnut Tree House charity lunch, sharing his experiences of fundraising. Other members of the team have taken part in different challenges, including the Battle 10km and the Great London Swim.
The total raised to date by LawlerDavis is £17,335.
Grand Finalists: Dawson Hart (Uckfield) and Herbert Scott (Lewes)
Nick Coppin started fundraising for Chestnut Tree House in 2009. The first challenge he set himself was to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats, which he followed the next year with a cycle ride to Barcelona – both documented in an engaging, humorous blog.
Seeking his next fundraising adventure, he began involving friends, family and colleagues on a South Downs challenge, and formed ‘Nick’s Nutters’. Nick’s business, Nicholas Coppin Ltd was key in his fundraising – not only in promoting the challenges but also increasing awareness of Chestnut Tree House. In addition to the 11 employees, the company’s clients, subcontractors and suppliers got involved.
Last year’s event was particularly poignant, as Nick sadly passed away in February 2016 after a long battle with illness. His legacy lives on, however, and now daughter Olivia, who also works at the business, has taken on organisation of the event.
In 2016 they reached an amazing milestone of over £50,000 for Chestnut Tree House since Nick first started fundraising.
Grand Finalists: HappyJacks (Eastbourne) and Heathfield Vets (Heathfield)
Willmott Dixon first pledged their support for Chestnut Tree House in 2014 and the team have thrown themselves into fundraising using a variety of initiatives, including golf days, a Great British Bake Off event, and their annual two-day Cobham Challenge.
Last year’s two-day challenge in the Lake District involved scaling the heights of Helvellyn and Scafell Pike, including 165 miles of road cycling and 60 miles off-road mountain biking. They raised £103,500 from this, bringing their overall fundraising total for 2016 to a massive £110,000, which paid for 16 days care at Chestnut Tree House.
In addition to fundraising and offering time, skills and experience in volunteering roles, Willmott Dixon also made and donated a TV advert, giving Chestnut Tree House the opportunity to gain a new type of media exposure and reach a wider audience.
Willmott Dixon have pledged to continue their support and want to raise enough to pay for 21 days of care in 2017.
Grand Finalists: AJW (Slinfold) and Shoreham Vehicle Auctions (Shoreham)
Green People first got involved with Chestnut Tree House in 2009. Over the years, they have attended numerous fundraising events and between 2009 and 2013 donated 100 gifts per year for the charity’s Snowman Spectacular Ball Giving Tree. This increased to 150 in 2014 and the company also became Ball partners.
In addition to this, they supported the Ball auction, both by bidding and donating exclusive artwork. They have supplied products for event goodie bags, donated prizes, and worked on a number of fundraising initiatives. In 2015 they sponsored the hospice’s Big Heart Auction gala event in Brighton and the following year were headline sponsors of the Big Heart Auction.
In 2016, one member of the company ran the Brighton Half Marathon, and a team of five became the highest fundraisers at the Chestnut Tree House Night to Remember midnight walk, raising more than £2,600. Since 2009, Green People have donated and raised over £83,120.
Grand Finalists: ECE Architecture (Worthing) and Technetix (Burgess Hill)
Hugh Lowson said, “I would like to thank everyone who entered this year’s Business Awards and for their generous support of Chestnut Tree House. We could not continue to provide our specialist care services to local children and families without their help. I would also like to thank the judges – Amanda Menahem, Tim Breden and Maarten Hoffmann, and our sponsors – Crawley Town Football Club, Creative Pod, Hiykon Pro Audio, Picture Book Films, Platinum Business Magazine, South Lodge Hotel and Sussex Promotions.”