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Nowadays I am surrounded by Givers – Time Givers, Skill Givers, Ideas Givers and of course Money Givers!

I’ve also been reading a superb book that had a whole chapter about Giving.  The author talked about a day (in the future) when volunteering was just a natural thing – not something exceptional or noble, where whole families talk about their plans for the weekend and say – What are we going to do this weekend – are we going to see a movie, shop, volunteer?

I see more and more of that thought though – my family think nothing of changing their plans to help me and love being part of Team It’s Good 2 Give. For my own dad, (at nearly 82) volunteering is what he does every second sunday morning – tootles along to St Columba’s Hospice and is the  receptionist for four hours. He has barely missed a day in over 30 years and any absences were only due to serious illness. (and that doesn’t count the hours of ‘volunteering’ both parents did just a few short years ago helping me with house and garden so I could concentrate on fundraising).

I read more and more on social media about folk taking part in this or that challenge, raising funds, supporting charities in many ways.

It makes a huge difference to people in times of stress, grief, struggling economically to know that someone cares – I know first hand how much of a difference small acts of kindness can make – have said often how much it meant to us after my stepson died, to find pots of soup on our doorstep, to open the door to friends holding trays of food to feed not just us but our guests as well, to have our shopping done for us.

That is where our Parent Packs started from – from me wanting to show parents on the ward with their very sick child that someone was thinking of them.  The feedback forms we get show that it does make a difference and we will keep doing it until the day it doesn’t.

Making small gestures of kindness whether to people you know or people you don’t ( more Pay It Forward) may mean a lot to them and to you too.

As I learned last night of yet another young loss of life – another young person not granted the chance to shine as she surely would have, my sadness for her family is tinged with sadness for so many other people who don’t grab the chances that waft past them.  The many children and young people I have known or known of who have lost their fights with cancer seem to have taken every opportunity that came their way in their short lives. Why?  Did they somehow know?

How about we all go do something we love – doesn’t matter if we aren’t great at it – paint, sing, dance, write poetry, – I love It’s Good 2 Give – took me a long time to find something I loved so much (as opposed to people I loved – done that since I was born!) and I will continue with it and always always try to do better. I will spare you my singing or dancing!  Feel free to join in by becoming one of our Givers – Time, Skill, Ideas or Money.

There are areas our charity still needs help with skills wise – anyone with graphic design experience, or who could help us design an e-Xmas card (for 2015), artists, art teachers – we would love to hear from you.

It may be a cliche but it is also true – this isn’t a dress rehearsal – we only get one chance at life. Make as much of it as you can.



Young Ambassadors Club – new

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Introducing our new Young Ambassadors Club

Right from the moment we set up It’s Good 2 Give we wanted to encourage giving – of time, skills, ideas as well as money.  We have had Young Ambassadors for over 3 years – now we want to take this to a new level.  We want to give them experiences and training and peer support.  All with an aim to have young people representing It’s Good 2 Give and showing them how volunteering can be fun and very good for you!  We’d love to see some of our  Young Ambassadors become Young Trustees of our or another charity in the future.

What we will give them?

Learn event organising, public speaking, retail, customer service, communication, negotiation
the really young ones will help at events, and with artwork and with physical challenges – eg designing christmas cards, posters,  leading a team in the Kiltwalk, or cycling in Pedal for Scotland

Older YA’s will be encouraged to mentor the younger ones and will be paired up with them at events.

Must commit to 2 hours each month for training and more in the run up to events.

Aim to organize and host an event in quarter 4 of 2015/quarter 1 2016

They will also help at It’s Good 2 Give events during 2015 including the Kiltwalk – either walking or volunteering.

The Young Ambassadors will be able to count the hours volunteered with us as part of other initiatives like Jass, Duke of Edinburgh, Saltire award

This will be a very exclusive Club – we are a small charity and want to do our Young Ambassadors proud so will take a maximum of 20 Young Ambassadors ranging in age from 5 (we already have Alfie Byrne as our Youngest Ambassador and he is a great help to us) to 20.

We already have enough applications for our first intake of  Young Ambassadors.

If you would like to be considered for the future, please get in touch.




Photographers, make up artists and hairstylists

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We are immensely grateful to the photographers who came along last Sunday to our fashion show and we now highly recommend them to you!

I also include photographers from past years who have donated their time and fabulous photos too

If you are ever looking for a photographer worth checking out our list – mention us if you do use them.

In no particular order-

Glenda Robertson

Rich Dyson

Alex Hewitt

Lewis Donaldson

Stephanie Ann Hunter

Yid Whellans


The make up for our models was done by the team from the Make up Academy of Scotland - for the third year in a row.  Thanks Sara Hill and your team – it is fantastic to have your support.


Hair for all our models and Sammi was done by the amazing team from Charlie Miller Hair.

This year they were led by Amber Lennie – and were Natalie Cole, Miriam Cassidy, Kayleigh Simpson, Katie Gibb, Hayley Dallas, Hayley Wilson, Charlene Lothian, Cat Nicholson, Chloe Renwick and Claire Ross

While our models were enjoying the pampering at Charlie Miller’s salon in Frederick Street, they were also treated to refreshments from Eteaket - a lovely tearoom just downstairs from the salon – and we extend our thanks to Aine and her team for that treat.


Kaleidoscope Fashion Show

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Oh my goodness.  What a show. What a wonderful show.

I do not mind admitting that Louise, Wilma, Shonagh, Susie and I were getting a wee bit stressed in the days leading up to the event – Managing 53 models, their hair appointments (I foolishly promised Darlene I wouldn’t make any changes to the schedule – ha ha – several changes later I ate humble pie), 14 independent clothing suppliers, 8 make up artists, several photographers, organising food and drink for all the volunteers  oh yes recruiting, briefing and managing those volunteers (there were more than 40 of them), arranging to pick up printing, clothes, rails, flowers, water and goodness knows what else.

Saturday saw Louise burning CD’s and back up CD’s and working out choreography – in between running her own beauty empire, Wilma was busy dodging about town collecting clothes turning her car into the itsgood2give van for the day, Marlyn and I were sorting ID badges, ticket lists, packing the car then later I was printing list after list till my printer packed up (yes before I was finished sadly but we had a back up plan and put that in place.  took a wee bit longer but hey, it worked). Susie was busy calming our young host’s nerves and getting her new shoes to match her two outfits. Shonagh was at Costco buying up their stock of water and chocolate oranges among other things.  Then there was Val at Flavour busy in her shop making up sandwiches for over 100 people – volunteers and models needed fed and Val was the woman to do that. Like everyone else involved in Sunday’s show she was donating her time and sandwiches (and crisps and milk and cakes)

Saturday was also not a great day weather wise which was a wee bit worrying – I didn’t want models to get their hair ruined before they even got to the school.

Sunday dawned dry- that was all we could ask for.  Ian and I  were up at 5  doing final packing of the  car and I was remembering my own clothes. (been there, done that, got that t shirt thanks – one year forgot my own clothes and make up.  Could get away with that then less so now)

We all met at the school at 0930 and offloaded my car so I could scoot to the hairdressers for first appt.  I wasn’t first there – Shonagh, Danny, Alfie, Lynn and Kieran were already there and the Carters too.  it was, as always, a lovely atmosphere- the team of stylists at Charlie Miller were led by Amber Lennie and it was good to see Cat there too and indeed it was Cat who came to the school with a couple of stylists to do last minute tweaking and preening.  Our models looked gorgeous.

The team from the Make up Academy of Scotland were fantastic too – bold bright colours perfect for the catwalk and the guys allowed a wee bit make up to be applied too.

Let us also remember the team at The Tom Fleming Centre for Performing Arts, – Chris, Liam and his colleague and the janitor.  They couldn’t do enough to help us. The catwalk was in Louise’s new idea of an H Shape with lighting uplighting it, our gobo was in place, the music and presentations were perfect.

We had a 20 strong team of volunteers from Lloyds Bank led by Julie Patience helping us and they were most welcome.  Helping do everything from sell raffle tickets, sell our merchandise, tombola (they exceeded my expectations there, well done guys), be our security team, help in refreshments and wardrobe.

Great supporter Kelly Manthorp, herself no stranger to organising even bigger events than this, took on the role of Front of House manager and I was glad of her there.

Everyone played their part to perfection.  My family – husband, stepdaughter and grandsons welcomed our guests and showed them to the auditorium.  I was in charge of wardrobe – tough call that one. Definitely learnt lots of lessons there that could be improved on for future shows but overall it was fun.  I even managed a last minute and fun shot on the catwalk wearing one of Silver Experience’s gorgeous cashmere ponchos – I chose a pink one as it matched my trainers (yep, wore them on the catwalk.) was fun and I wanted to go out again but perhaps another time.

I am scared to do a thank you list as I don’t want to forget anyone and fear I might – so many people gave of their time, skills, ideas and money to support us and I will but in a separate post with links to each of their businesses.

Our wonderful Patron Grant Stott was superb on the catwalk with co-host, Young Ambassador Sammi Bradley – she did have a few nerves before hand but I tell you what, they didn’t show on that stage – she was superb – as you can see from the photos.  And Grant had a word or two to say about her on his radio show on Monday.

This event is about giving everyone on the catwalk a fantastic and special day and giving the audience a great show and we achieved that.

We now have a great many photos to share with you – bear with me while I upload them  over next couple of weeks. There are a selection in the galleries below

Our superb photographers were

Glenda Robertson

Rich Dyson

Alex Hewitt

Stephanie Hunter

Lewis Donaldson

Some of Glenda Robertson’s photos

Some of Rich Dyson’s photos

A selection of Alex Hewitt’s photos



Reflections on past five or so years

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I was writing notes for a presentation I am doing next month at a conference. It took me back to the beginning – only 4 and a half years ago.

The reason we made the charity about children and young people with cancer was because a friend’s daughter was diagnosed aged just 10 – I visited them a few times and chatted with other families of young cancer patients realised how much the diagnosis affected the whole family.

And so, it was because of Iona and her family and other similar families that It’s Good 2 Give looks after young people aged from 0-25.

We started handing out our parent packs in 2009 and put in feedback forms – from those we constantly appraise what goes in the packs to make sure they are helpful as well as luxurious.

Early 2010 we started delivering the snacks – we had been asked by staff on the ward and took advice from the hospital dietician as to content and now we actually take the snack trolley round 3 days a week and we aim to extend that soon.

I remember the first few requests too –

Could we help a young family with a toddler get a trip to Thomas the Tank Engine Land?

Could we get a Barney dinosaur costume for  a nurse to wear to entertain a baby?

Could we get a mobile phone for a teenager with cataract problems?

I said yes very quickly to these though learnt a lesson there too – say Yes I will do my best.  I did manage to do them all but they were sure harder than I expected.  The Barney outfit almost had me.  All the costumes I could find were more like something someone would wear at Halloween – they were downright scarey they were so bad.  Determination is a good thing too and I was determined to deal with all those requests – I think I even managed to beg a spa voucher for the mum going to Thomas the Tank Engine land from the hotel I found them to stay in.   The Barney costume was fantastic in the end and the baby could hardly believe his eyes.  Though I think Helen the play specialist lost a few pounds that day wearing it!  We did manage to get the phone requested too and I still have the text with a smiley face from the teen after he set it up.

Those are big requests but we also managed a few smaller ones – the dongle delivered next day to a teen who was in the main ward and wanted internet access.  She was delighted and still talks about it to this day.

I remember too how we added ironing vouchers to our list of practical support – one of the mums said on Facebook one night that she wished someone could do her ironing and I thought, wait a minute, we could do that.  Not literally you understand – ironing is not my favourite pastime!  I got in touch with a few small ironing businesses and set up a system for buying vouchers from them.  So the businesses collect the laundry needing ironed, iron it and then deliver it back on hangers or folded whichever is your preference.  We can give up to 4 vouchers per family – it’s a small gift but very much appreciated.

Our programme of workshops has grown too – the aim with those is to get families together and also to introduce young people to new skills – skills they may just do once and never again or perhaps introduce them to something that becomes their hobby or sport.

And then there is the Ripple Retreat – a place of peace or activity – the family’s choice – they can just stay in the retreat for the whole week or take advantage of activities that will be on offer nearby.  Far more stunning than I anticipated or dreamt about – thanks to Tony Kettle and his oh so beautiful design and in an idyllic location thanks to the incredible kindness of David and Jean gifting us the land.   The Retreat will be available to families in treatment and also for bereaved families in the two years after bereavement.

It’s been an interesting, inspirational, moving journey in the past five years and I can’t wait to see what the next five years will bring.



Edinburgh Kiltwalk 2015 – walk to help us create the Ripple Retreat

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We are well chuffed to be an official partner of the Edinburgh Kiltwalk 2015

Date of Kiltwalk – 3 May 2015

What is the Kiltwalk, did I hear you ask?

The Edinburgh Kiltwalk is a 26 mile walk around our fair city (there are 13 mile and 6 mile wee walk options as well). As the name might suggest all participants are asked to wear a kilt (or tartan), creating one big tartan army!

Its a beautiful city route, taking in the village of Cramond, Portabello Esplanade, the leafy Sustrans cyclepath network and Holyrood Park

Registration just now is at the early bird price of £20 plus £1.50 fee until 31 December 2014 – after that it is still a very reasonable £25 plus £1.50 fee

You are then asked to raise £200

If you register a team of five or more people and select It’s Good 2 Give as your nominated charity you will ensure that It’s Good 2 Give is awarded a grant from the Kiltwalk of 50% of the funds raised.

If you register a team of twenty or more people and select It’s Good 2 Give as your nominated charity, you will ensure that It’s Good 2 Give is awarded a grant from the Kiltwalk of 75% of the funds raised.

The remainder of the funds you raise will be split between the Kiltwalk’s 6 charity partners – all wonderful Scottish children’s charities (we are one of them)

Edinburgh Kiltwalk is aiming to get 5,000 kiltwalkers walking through the streets of Edinburgh this year. It’s not a race so you can take your time, stop for a picnic, listen to the entertainment that we all have planned, or you can bash on.  What’s nice is it is up to you to set your own pace.

The funds raised will help us create our Ripple Retreat

If you don’t think you can get a team together but still want to do the Edinburgh Kiltwalk you can join Team It’s Good 2 Give   from the dropdown menu at registration. That way you can still ensure that 50% of the funds raised are awarded to It’s Good 2 Give by the Kiltwalk.  You will need this password – IGTGKiltwalk

it’s better if you can get a team together especially if you think you can get 20 people but even if it is just 5.

When you sign up –  You’ll  receive a kiltwalk registration pack, including a t-shirt and other goodies.

And. if the walk itself isn’t for you there are still plenty of opportunities you can get involved by volunteering as a Kiltie and helping out at the event.

We are very lucky to have our main volunteering team in place thanks to Julie Patience and her team at Scottish Widows.  We still need a few volunteers for our tent at the charity village at Murrayfield.  Please get in touch if you would like to apply to be one of our volunteers.  The noisier the better – we can’t wait to have you join us!

We also need entertainers – bands of any description, pipe bands, choirs, magicians even – we want to get a dozen to play for about 1hour each during the day – if you are up for helping us do that please get in touch – again we want noise, colour and fun for the walkers and volunteers.


How to Register a new Team

start here on the home page

Click Register (NOT Register a Team)

on this page click Register a New Team

to choose to support us use the drop down box – category and then click on It’s Good 2 Give

then follow the rest of the on the page instructions

That’s your team set up now.

Tell your team members the team name and password

For the rest of your team to sign up follow these instructions

start here on the home page

Click Register and follow the instructions and when you get to Team click on the dropdown list and choose your team (your team leader should have given you the name and password in advance)


Scottish Referendum

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I feel that this historic  day calls for a wee post.

If you thought though that I was going to tell you how I voted you are mistaken!  Nor will I beseech you to vote yes or no.  You are smart enough to know what you want as I believe I am.

What I want to say really  is my usual message of gratitude.

How lucky I am, we are, to live in this utterly beautiful country free to say pretty much what we like about politicians, the royals, referendum – without fear of reprisal.  I am saddened to see signs destroyed or flags burned – not sure what that proves except disrespect but I have seen a great deal of discussion and debate – mostly measured and often passionate.  And what kind of referendum would this be if not for passion?  Not much point in it really.

I am passionate about our charities, about my fundraising and most certainly about supporting the families we come into contact with.  So it is good to see passion from all the people debating this subject.

More than anything though – come Friday morning when the result is announced I want us to shake hands and work together again to move forward in the post IndyRef world, whatever it is.

We can do that.

Loch Venachar

Posted by | The Retreat | No Comments

Helen – great supporter and good friend of It’s Good 2 Give ran the Edinburgh Marathon for us earlier this year.

That’s by way of telling you about who took this gorgeous photo!

She was up at Loch Venachar last week and thought we would like to see this view.

She was right.   And now I want to share it with you.

Our Ripple Retreat will be built so that views like this can be easily seen from the living area.

I don’t know about you but I get a sense of calm and peace just looking at the photo.

Thanks Helen.


and now to Sunday

Posted by | Pedal 4 Paul | No Comments

So now it’s Sunday and I am at Murrayfield Stadium.

Waiting on about 15 cyclists who are cycling in our Pedal 4 Paul team in the Pedal for Scotland bike ride.

I had to decide time to be there and went for 12-4 – but that meant I missed our fabulous young trio of cyclists – Tabby, Ruby and Danielle – who cycled 10 miles in the family ride.  They looked amazing as you can see from the photographs.  Tabby is our youngest Ambassador and we are very proud of her.

Oh and they have raised over £700 too between them.

It was a lovely day to be waiting there – we have been there for three years now and this was by far the nicest weather – it is such a great event to be part of – cyclists who arrive in looking elated at having cycled 47 miles – our youngest cyclist doing the entire 47 miles was Daniel Brennan – what a wee star – he barely looked tired though he was keen to get onto the bus home.  He cycled with his dad Dave who was super proud of him.

There was also John – three times cycling Pedal for Scotland in our Pedal 4 Paul team- Morgan cycling it in memory of her pal Michaela, Rosemary and Ronnie doing it to celebrate the end of Tabby’s treatment earlier this year, Mike and Roddy McLean and Caroline Cassels cycling in Team Millie.

Total raised so far (and money still coming in) is over £3000 – all that will go into Paul’s fund so that when the Retreat is build Paul’s parents, Ruth and Steven, and sister Gillian and her fiance Nic will decide what the money raised over the years will be spent on.

If you would like to join our team Pedal 4 Paul – cycling next year in Pedal for Scotland or in any cycling event do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.

One requirement for joining our team is to wear odd socks!  Paul always wore odd socks so this is our extra way of honouring this remarkable and lovely young man.



Posted by | 100 pledges of £1000, Special supporters | No Comments

So I told you about Friday at the Buccleuch Challenge – I woke on Saturday feeling a bit tired and actually a  wee bit unwell.

I was determined to get along to see two runners finish the half marathon.  Parking at Tesco on the West side of Musselburgh because the traffic was unbelievable I walked slowly along the High Street to Musselburgh Race Course where the half marathon finish line was.

But you know what?  As soon as I saw both runners – Lorraine and Kirsty (they didn’t know each other) I felt so much better.  Our fundraisers make my heart sing, so they do.  These two amazing runners both raised hundreds of pounds for us and trained hard for their race.  I was so glad to be there to see them.  Bonus was I bumped into Emma one of our newer but fabulous volunteers who had been doing this run for fun.

Kirsty Griffiths has been a supporter of mine for years and years and is just wonderful and lovely and she looked fantastic in her It’s Good 2 Give running vest with her name on the back.  I hope lots of people cheered her on.  (I did)

I walked back to my car with much more of a spring in my step and gratitude in my heart.

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