Last week we won the ‘Extra Mile’ award at the Merton Best Business Awards. The awards, which highlight the achievements of SMEs in the London borough of Merton, are now in their fifth year and culminate annually in a glamorous awards ceremony.
Obviously we were delighted to receive the accolade and take back to the office a lovely looking glass trophy. We landed the prize for our work with Merton Voluntary Service Council’s retail initiative Fayre and Square. The store, based in Centre Court Shopping Centre, has received complimentary EPoS equipment from us and training for its number of volunteers. You can read about our work with them in this previous blog piece.
In truth we didn’t expect to win. We’d looked at the competition and we expected Fitwise to triumph for their work on Molly’s Smile Fund. They were runners-up on the night, but they won both our hearts and our admiration when we learnt about their amazing cause and fundraising.
Fitwise is headed up by Jane Burdett, a personal trainer who specialises in postnatal fitness, group exercise and one-to-one personal training in the heart of Wimbledon. In the summer of 2015 after a short illness, Jane lost her eldest child Molly, who was 19. The illness, which doctors initially failed to diagnose, was hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a life-threatening condition whereby cells of the immune system don’t work properly to destroy infected or damaged cells as they should. A week after her death, Jane, aided by family and friends launched Molly’s Smile Fund to raise money for St George’s Hospital GICU and Histio UK.
The morning after the award ceremony, we contacted Jane to congratulate her on Molly’s Smile Fund and to let her know that we thought Fitwise should have won! Here is her reply which she allowed us to include in this blog:
What a very lovely unexpected e mail. We decided as a tight team we were winners whatsoever happened last night.
My late daughter’s totally unexpected death rocked not just our family but a whole community. We harnessed the shock along with Molly’s huge lost potential to be ever positive about the toughest of challenges, and make a beautiful and practical legacy for her, and reflecting her. St. Georges GICU were phenomenal in their care for Molly so we raised ‘softening the experience’ funds for them first. We added Histiouk to fund research into her rare condition.
2016-17 we switched to her fab uni for a ‘Molly shaped’ cause to fund an Assistive Technology Suite for her fellow dyslexics, different learners and for disabled students. We have over exceeded our £21,000 promise (in her 21st year) and we cut the ribbon on the suite with her younger siblings Harry, 20, and Bella, 16, at St. Mary’s University Twickenham library on September 29.
Molly’s legacy will continue her lovely presence on campus with a facility that will improve and enhance the learning and social confidences of so many students (like our dippy, dyslexic daughter), those with different learning issues and/or disabilities.
Molly rarely won anything in life yet worked so hard and conscientiously on her studies and on her wide wide social network. In death she still wins hearts everyday and her legacy for only good stuff for others grows daily. We were proud to be in the room. I hope our dyslexic, dippy Molly gets all that we do for her because she earned nothing less in her 19 years.
Thank you and well done.
Yours, Jane Burdett
Both this reply and reading Molly’s Story via the Molly’s Smile Fund website brought a tear to this writer’s eye. Many of the staff at Retail IT have now been made aware of the fund and are also so impressed by the strength showed by everyone behind it and their desire to use Molly’s life and death positively.
Please visit www.mollyssmilefund.org to learn a bit more about this wonderful cause – which has raised over £75,000 in just over two years. And well done to all the other nominees of the Extra Mile Award – Dickie Wilkinson, Holistic Fitness Studios, Memory Gate Photography, Sai Restaraunt and The Terrace Wimbledon. In this category there are only winners!