Teddy20 is a charity based in Blandford Forum which provides emotional and financial support to children and young people suffering and undergoing treatment for cancer.
In 2009 cricket lover and local businessman Owen Newton wanted to raise awareness of the childhood cancer his youngest son was suffering from. Not just awareness – he wanted to raise money to give something back to the organisations that had helped his son Ted and the whole family. With a history as a cricket coach he decided to call upon the cricketing community of Blandford to join in a 20-20 cricket match, to raise much- needed money for CLIC Sargent (a charity that supports children living with cancer), Kingfisher Ward (Dorchester), Piam Brown Ward (Southampton) and Bone Cancer Research.
Owen and his family were overwhelmed when the event raised £10,000 – and even more surprised when people began enquiring if Teddy20 was to become an annual event. From then Teddy20 has grown bigger and better, raising more money from organising other events such as balls, challenges and music festivals.
The pandemic for the families with kids on chemotherapy COVID-19 saw us all slowing down and staying home.
Doing our bit to stay safe. Imagine, then, having a child on chemotherapy whose immune system is completely compromised? “When our Son, Ted, was going through treatment it was tough on the rest of the family too.” shared Teddy20 founder Owen “We couldn’t welcome people into our home without prior arrangement after asking the seemingly-normal (to us) ‘do you have a cough, cold, sore throat?’. Throw a pandemic on top and I can only imagine the heightened anxiety for these families.”
More work than ever
Childhood cancer didn’t go away during the pandemic. Behind the scenes Teddy20 were busy supporting families. They sent out more grants than ever to ease financial worry – sadly there were funeral grants too.
Ted’s Shack (the charity’s respite holiday home) opened later than normal in June and although having a much quieter season than usual were still able to provide numerous free holidays to families who badly needed a break from the hospital regime. Several families booked but had to cancel due to illness – the charity will try and rebook them at a later time. It’s so important to everyone at Teddy20 for these children who endure the most invasive and painful treatments to have something nice to look forward to.
“Ted’s Shack is run entirely by volunteers,” explained Owen “we’re very luck to have trusted friends who give up their time to help keep the Shack in pristine condition.“ All efforts are now focussed on much-needed fundraising – taking an opportunity to thank the many people who do the challenges for us:
Craig Rees ran the London Marathon for Teddy20. We helped his nephew Luke when he was going through cancer treatment. Happy to say he is doing very well and enjoying a normal life.
On the 23rd October at the Woodhouse Gardens in Blandford Teddy20 had two fully booked sessions of arts, crafts and games – not to mention Mr. Bear, the tombola, the Mummy and of course the cakes (see picture opposite page). The children were dressed up in some amazing Halloween outfits, from Demons to Ghostbusters, Wonder Woman to Wednesday Addams, they certainly looked the part. It was a great day for all and most importantly lots of money and awareness was raised. Teddy20 would like to give a huge thanks to everyone who turned up to party, including all of the Teddy20 helpers before, during and after.
On the same cold October day a team of 21 hardy souls from local S.O.U.L Kickboxing club took on the RocketRace – a freezing, muddy, wet, gruelling 10km obstacle course at Toomer Farm in Henstridge. They worked as a team across the three hours it took to complete the course, and together raised over £1,000 for Teddy20.
On the 24th October Teddy20 took part in a Tractor Pull at Lukins Gym in Pimperne. Teams of six had to pull an eight ton tractor across 50 metres as fast as they could for their chosen charity. It was a fantastic turn out and we have to give a big shout out to the Blandford Fire Station, Teddy Rocks Crew, Rob n Tug and Camel Tow, all of which entered teams to raise money for Teddy20 and absolutely smashed it. We might not have won but it was a wonderful day that brought lots of people together and just when we thought it couldn’t get any better the winning team decided to split the figure between all three charities.
As always, the Teddy20 Santa sleigh will be visiting locations in and around Blandford. For a small cost children can sit on the sleigh, meet Santa and receive a gift. Keep an eye out for the locations and dates – www. teddy20.org.
Finally, after what will be a three year absence, Teddy20 are excited to announce that Teddy Rocks returns to Charisworth Farm from 29th April until 1st May 2022. Further details and ticket information from www. teddyrocks.co.uk
A last word from Owen Newton: “We are always so touched and grateful for the support we receive from the local area; without you we couldn’t support the families who need us most.”