Alan and Heather Shepherd, owners of The Bell at Lacock, have been dedicated supporters of The Forever Friends Appeal (the primary fundraising charity for the Royal United Hospital (RUH), Bath) for many years. Since becoming involved with The Appeal in 2010, this amazing couple has managed to raise a phenomenal total of over £65,500 towards transforming cancer care at the RUH.
Alan and Heather first set themselves a target of raising £10,000 for The Forever Friends Appeal to mark their tenth anniversary of owning The Bell. Following a multitude of events, including a sponsored 100-mile trek of the Cotswold Way, the Bell Ball, charity breakfasts, a family fete and beer festival, quizzes and Christmas fairs, Alan and Heather had raced past their £10,000 target and began ‘The Bell – to £50,000 and beyond’ challenge. Once again the Bell surpassed all expectations by smashing this target and storming ahead to raise an absolutely incredible total exceeding £65,500. But the fun does not stop there! Alan and Heather are determined to go on and raise yet more funds to help cancer patients at the RUH, and are planning another charity breakfast to support The Forever Friends Appeal on Saturday 8th August 2015.
The wonderful achievements of this inspirational couple could not have happened without the love and support of their local community. The Bell is like a home from home, with a warm welcoming atmosphere and a happy family of local regulars. Whether it is by donations of knitted goods or sponsorship for events, the achievements of this lovely pub are a wonderful group effort, with local people rallying round to help a vital and worthwhile cause.
As a result of raising over £50,000 for The Appeal, the Forever Friends team are delighted to be able to acknowledge the incredible efforts of all at The Bell by naming them The Appeal’s first, and currently sole, Principal Community Partner. The Appeal’s Head of Fundraising, Tim Hobbs, and Community Fundraiser, Lydia McGivern were thrilled to attend a plaque presentation at the Bell on 23rd April to celebrate this success with Alan, Heather and many of their wonderful supporters. Alan and Heather will also be acknowledged within the build of the pioneering new Cancer Centre which is to be built at the RUH. This innovative new Centre will be the culmination of The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign, launched in 2011, with a target of £8.5 million to raise.
Lydia comments, ‘it was so lovely to be able to celebrate everything that The Bell at Lacock has done for The Forever Friends Appeal with so many of their amazing supporters there. This is a group of local people who have come together to do something truly incredible, which will transform the lives of so many people around them. Alan and Heather are absolutely inspirational and it is a true privilege to be able to work with them.’
Alan and Heather would like to thank all of the people who have supported their fundraising efforts. Heather states, ‘We were honoured to receive the Principal Community Partner award. We have been bowled over by the fantastic support we have received from our friends, customers and suppliers in helping us raise the total so far. The RUH Cancer Care Appeal was an obvious choice for us and the support given by others in all our fundraising efforts shows that it is a charity close to the hearts of many. The Forever Friends appeal team have given us invaluable support over the years and we would encourage anyone interested in doing their bit for this great charity to give them a call.’