10 year old Finlay Woods was supported by Child Bereavement UK after his Daddy died by suicide in 2012. Finlay has been chosen to receive a Child Bereavement UK 21 Champions Award in recognition of his entrepreneurial fundraising efforts and his wish to help other bereaved children after the death of a parent.
It’s three years since Daddy died. Child Bereavement UK helped me and I thought I should give something back, and in respect for Dad. Child Bereavement UK helped me to cope after Dad died. It was quite a big shock. I saw Ann and did all the activities. They gave me support and care so I decided ‘They helped me, so I’ll help them.’
I’ve taken part in two Dash for Dad fun runs – both went really well. The first time I did it, I came up with lots of different ways to fundraise, and raised over £2000. Even afterwards, the money kept coming in! I did lots of fundraising. I went to the Marlow Round Table and did a presentation to them. I made a big poster and practised my lines. I had been practising my presentation by pointing to the poster with a stick. I didn’t think that was very professional! As I was leaving the house, I dashed upstairs and got my lightsaber so I could use it as a pointer! They gave us a cheque for £200. The Shanly Foundation also read about me in the press and wrote to me. I put letters through people’s doors, as well as Child Bereavement UK leaflets. I also did a talk to my class at school and organised a cake sale. I know what my friends like – I made chocolate cookies brownies, flapjacks and cornflake and marshmallow crispy cakes – my Granny’s recipe. I enjoy baking and running in different ways – both have rewards but running is more physical. The class was happy because they got to eat cake and missed lessons, which was a bit of a bonus!!
I’d never taken part in any big runs before. I tried to do a bit of training – I went to the park and did a couple of laps in the week and at the weekends. It helped that we do cross country at school every Monday. It’s quite hard with my asthma – I get wheezy – but the training made it a lot easier. I’m thinking when I’m old enough I might do a 5k.
It was fun because my friends came to support me. They made banners and we had T-shirts made. I had everyone cheering me on! My goal was to not stop running and not to walk – and I managed to do it! I paced myself on the first loop then did a big sprint at the end. It was worth it because you feel great afterwards and can tell everyone that you did it.
None of my classmates had done anything like that before. I think I inspired them – some of my friends did some fundraising for an animal trust afterwards, but I think I was the first person.
I was surprised how much money I raised. I set a goal and was aiming for £1000 then beat that and aimed for £2500. What’s really funny about fundraising is everybody thought ‘Did you get to keep all that money for yourself?!’
If people asked me about Child Bereavement UK I would definitely recommend it. If they needed somewhere to go I would tell them about it because it did help me a lot. They help you let your emotions out in a comfortable place and get your confidence back. I love running and I wanted them to be able to help other children like me, who have lost a parent. I know my Daddy would be proud of me for doing this.
I was shocked when I opened the letter telling me I was a Child Bereavement UK Champion. I though ‘Oh my gosh!’ I asked Mum ‘What is it?!’ I thought I was one of lots of children chosen. It’s so cool that I’m the only kid, I thought all the kids would get one! That’s so cool – I can be, like, the cute one!
I tell people I’ve been picked to get a Child Bereavement UK Champion Award. It shows that if you go for it the rewards can be amazing – really worthwhile. Rewards come if you try your best. And I was really committed because of who and what I was doing it for.