Bournemouth-based charity Round Table Children’s Wish kicked-off the celebrations for its 25th anniversary year with a reunion for its supporters and ‘Wish’ children.
People from across the country gathered at the Sandbanks Hotel, Poole, where the charity’s founder Martin Giles, gave an impassioned speech about its work in granting wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses.
Martin was a member of Bournemouth North 1066 Round Table in 1987, when he read about a child in America who had his dying wish to swim with dolphins granted.
In 1988 Martin proposed the setting up of a charity to help poorly children in the UK and the Bournemouth North 1066 Round Table Children’s Wish was born.
In the last 25 years the charity has gone on to grant thousands of handcrafted wishes, including organising meetings with celebrities, buying computers, playhouses and toys and sending children and their families on much-needed holidays, all over the world.
Mr Giles said: “The 25th Anniversary reunion was wonderful and seeing so many faces from back when I started the charity was very emotional and very humbling.
“It’s fantastic to see that a simple idea can create something so beautiful.”
Amongst the guests at the reunion was Jack Bassett, 25, from the New Forest.
Jack was diagnosed with a brain tumour at 16 and Round Table Children’s Wish made his dream come true by sending him to see his favourite television show, ‘Top Gear’, being filmed.
He said: “I did and still do watch ‘Top Gear’ every week and the highlight of my wish was being able to see how the programme is made and meeting Richard Hammond.”
Jack recovered and has gone on to fulfill another wish – to become a motor mechanic.
He added: “Round Table Children’s Wish gave me something to look forward to after a very difficult 18 months.”
Round Table Children’s Wish’s work is made possible by the continuing support of the Round Table network and many other fundraisers, large and small.
Patrons include former Tottenham Hotspur and QPR manager Harry Redknapp and the retired athlete Derek Redmond.
An auction and raffle of prizes included a signed AFC Bournemouth shirt.
Round Table Children’s Wish Director, Karen Winchcombe said: “It was a very memorable night and a chance for us as a charity to thank some of the many people who have supported us.”
She added: “This is the first of a series of exciting events leading up to our official anniversary in October.
“We hope to encourage more people to come forward and fundraise for us and in doing so help us to grant the wishes of even more poorly children.”