The event generally changes location each year and it was great for the return to Cardiff to signal another year of fundraising for Tŷ Hafan for our seventeen-man/woman team.
With the teams announced back in December 2018, we set out our stall early, we wanted to make a meaningful target, having paid for a day (#Pay4ADay) of running Tŷ Hafan in past years, so – in discussion with Tŷ Hafan CEO Rob Jones – we set our sights on #Pay4ANurse, with a target of £25,000 to contribute towards the first ever Allstars nurse, to provide the great care that the hospice is synonymous with, but in the comfort of the home. With some strong, proven fundraisers on the team, we were confident that this was achievable. In the run up to the weekend, our players have hosted static bike challenges in the office, a full kit bike ride of the Taff Trail and a fantastic day of Footgolf at St Andrews Major Golf Club. We were also lucky to be joined by our title sponsor, Back in Action Physiotherapy, throughout the Allstars weekend, providing massage/treatment to players (and even the odd visit from some of our supporters – not least Tŷ Hafan’s very own Lauren for treatment of a netball injury!) and donating all proceeds to our fundraising.
As a whole, the UK Charity Allstars is a formidable fundraising machine, considering those that take part come from across the UK and range in playing ability from ex-professionals, to ice hockey fans that just wanted a crack at playing and raise money in the process. Since the first UK Charity Allstars event in 2008, the players have raised over £600,000 for the charities they support, with 150 players supporting one of the eight charities (British Heart Foundation, Breast Cancer Care, Mind, Prostate Cancer UK, Dreams Come True, Blue Cross for Pets, Help for Heroes and, of course, Tŷ Hafan).
As a team, Tŷ Hafan Ice Hockey had a great mix of players on this year’s roster and the banter on and off the ice was fantastic. On the ice we came a respectable third place – in a tournament where standings comes second to the amount of fun that players have with old friends and making new ones.
For me, my personal highlight was presenting my playing shirt, along with another, to Chris and Clair, whose beautiful daughter Scarlett is the Tŷ Hafan Ice Hockey mascot. Scarlett, Chris and Clair have benefitted from the services of Tŷ Hafan, but following her passing late last year, Scarlett couldn’t join us in person on the ice, as she has done in past years. With Clair and Chris being ice hockey fans, it seemed only fitting that they both had playing jerseys for the team that took her into our hearts.
By the end of the weekend, our fundraising was short of our target at £16,000 and whilst we might not quite make our target, we’re not quite done, with a few more irons in the fire, including a raffle for a custom ‘dipped’ ice hockey helmet, which is still running.
We’re hoping that the UK Charity Allstars will be returning to Cardiff soon and I’m sure that the team will be chomping at the bit, to have a shot at #Pay4ANurse and this time, smash the target. Watch this space.
In the meantime, we’d like to thank all of the volunteers that manned the Tŷ Hafan stall throughout the weekend, our corporate sponsors and every colleague, friend and family member that donated to our fundraising pages.