Kelly believes that every child needs a hero, someone to look up to and be inspired by.
That’s why she set up her own charity, The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust (DKHT), which helps disadvantaged young people in deprived areas. Kelly’s vision is to get young lives back on track by using the unique skills of world class athletes to engage, enable and empower.
It is inspiring to work with someone who has such beliefs and this theme runs through everything she does and everything I do to support her. I often receive charity requests for Kelly from a wide variety of people. Because Kelly has fully committed her time to 5 charities we do have to decline some of the approaches.
Through Kelly’s work with her Trust I have seen first-hand why the charity is so successful. I have organised visits to her café from some of the Young Get on Track team who have come to Kelly’s café to learn how her business is run and to also hear a motivational talk from Kelly.
I have been very busy helping Kelly with her fundraising but once we have hit her goal I’d like to set myself a few challenges and do more 5k charity runs – especially now I have had all the training.
In April 2016 Kelly decided to run her first ever London marathon as part of her fund-raising efforts. She does like a challenge or three! She is not a marathon runner and this distance was sure to pose a real challenge so she wanted to do lots of training in the build-up as it was a last minute decision to take part. This meant clearing lots of space in a very busy diary – postponing meetings that weren’t urgent or replacing face-to-face meetings with phone calls to buy time. Kelly’s speaking commitments remained top priority as well as her training.
Then she launched another personal challenge alongside this – she set a goal to raise a whopping quarter of a £million for the five charities close to her heart.
Kelly raised a lot of money through her marathon efforts and described it as ‘the toughest thing I have ever done’. And then it was on to organising many more fundraisers to get to the magic number…
My biggest personal challenge was a Gala Dinner in London. It was called ‘Kelly’s Charity Birthday Bash’ and I had 6 weeks to organise the entire thing. Kelly’s challenges are my challenges too!
Hosted at the beautiful Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, on Kelly’s birthday, this event was the biggest contributor. Someone from each of the 5 charities attended and I was their point of contact, making sure they were happy to present and talk on the night.
The venue had to look great and that was down to me. It had to be fun for guests with an exciting charity auction. I sourced a great selection of auction prizes and goody bags. I liaised with the team at the hotel re seating plans, last minute changes and all the fine detail to make things run like clockwork. I briefed newsreader, Clive Myrie, our host, who did a brilliant job with the live auction backed up by the fabulous Polly from Pickering who added encouragement with her very vocal support.
Those 6 weeks went by in a complete blur with quite a few late nights when I was checking and rechecking that everything was in place while continuing to make sure Kelly’s day to day life was in order. I believe l managed to feed and clothe my children during this time too – quite how is a mystery.
But what a result – we raised lots of money for Kelly’s charities. If anything went wrong none of us noticed anyway, it was such a great night.
We still have a way to go to meet the £250,000 fundraising target and you can still get involved. A virtual run is organised for 10th September and in the next blog I’ll let you know more. I’m also meeting with a local trampoline park whose team is keen to assist us with an evening event. Does anyone like bouncing?
Kelly’s five chosen charities are: The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, Myeloma UK, Mind, Hospice in the Weald and The Pickering Cancer Drop in Centre.
Go to Damekellyholmestriust.org for more information.