Debbie Hulbert, owner of Charter Cutting Company in Emsworth, explains why they have signed up to the Rowans Corporate Challenge for the next three years
My mum passed away at the Rowans in 2014, but prior to then, as a salon, Charter Cutting Company would always fundraise for the Rowans just because it’s local.
Nothing beats fundraising for a charity that is on your doorstep because you can’t imagine how many clients we have had, probably even just in the past 12 months, whose daughters, sons, themselves or their partners have needed to use or be supported by the Rowans.
Our fundraising for the Rowans started by taking part in the Moonlit Memories walk. I did it on my own for a couple of years and then I managed to convince a couple of the girls to do it with me, then a couple more.
When I started to rope them into doing the walk, I don’t think they had ever really thought about it before. Now a team of us do it. We work all day and then we basically walk all through the night.
None of us have a day off but we love it. The stillness of the night, the fact that you chat to people and everyone is there for the same reason.
We then started holding fundraising days in the salon, so it did feel slightly strange when my mum ended up at the Rowans. I had fundraised for it but never visited, so I didn’t actually have a clue what it looked like, what it was about or how it felt.
But literally from the minute we arrived the wonderful care was immediate. My mum, my dad, my sister and I were made to feel welcome and at home. Mum had ovarian cancer and was there for six weeks - I think she is their longest-staying patient.
So during this time we managed to form a really good relationship with everybody, from the chef to the volunteers. The chef would pop in and tell my sister and me what soup he was making that day. We even had space in the fridge to keep mum’s ice lollies, which we could just go and fetch when she wanted one.
I got to know the chaplain, Carol Gully, really well and she has been absolutely brilliant. So whenever I go to the chapel she always meets me and we have tea and coffee and cake.
I also recognised so many of my clients when I was there with my mum – I didn’t realise they volunteered at the Rowans. They would come into mum’s room and say hi.
It was nice that I was able to take my hairdressing equipment in and do mum’s hair. Nobody wanted to check my plugs, it just felt like home from home.
My dad stayed there for the last couple of weeks as well, which was brilliant for him. He wouldn’t use the guest room, he insisted in sleeping in the chair in mum’s room, as he wanted to be with her the whole time.
Giving him the time he needed was great. Yes, it was just a really lovely, amazing place.
When mum passed away I said to my sister that we have to fundraise bigger than we have ever done before, so we have continued to hold special days and raffles.
Then when I read the article in The News about Solent Design, which does all the printing for the Rowans and about the Corporate Challenge for the Silver Jubilee Appeal, I thought ‘you know what, we can do this’
It’s going to be a pleasure as I know we’ll be helping to ensure the amazing care my family received is there for our clients and our community now and in the future.
We held our first Fundraising Day on Thursday May 30 and I can honestly say that all of us at Charter Cutting Company feel honoured that we have signed up and are looking forward as a team to taking on the challenge for the next three years.