Stars from the silver screen, TV and football helped a Kidderminster family smash the £150,000 fundraising barrier for Cure Leukaemia at a golf day held in memory of their son.
The tenth annual Stephen Hayden charity golf day, organised by dad Roy, mum Barbara and sister Amanda, raised £15,000 for Cure Leukaemia – a figure beyond the family’s ‘wildest dreams’.
Harry Potter star James Phelps, who played Weasley twin Fred, broadcaster Adrian Chiles, ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers footballers Geoff Thomas and David Kelly and former West Bromwich Albion coaches Richard O’Kelly and Colin Addison all played in the Stableford contest at Wharton Park Golf & Country Club, Bewdley.
The Haydens, of Chester Road North, began fundraising for the blood cancer charity in 2006 after Stephen lost his brave battle against acute myeloid leukaemia. He was just 26.
Proceeds from their latest event, which has taken their decade-long fundraising total to £155,000, were significantly boosted by Nationwide Building Society donating £5,000 to sponsor the golf day. The Haydens were nominated for the sum by Nationwide’s ‘Employee of the Year’ Jessica Aulak, who learned about the family’s selfless efforts on a visit to the Kidderminster branch.
Jessica, from Dudley, followed it up by raising a further £1,500 from a recent 20-mile sponsored walk with work colleagues around Swindon, Wiltshire, the home of Nationwide’s head office.
“We’re so grateful to everyone who attended the golf day and evening dinner or donated money or merchandise to help raise vital funds that will be used to save the lives of blood cancer patients,” said Roy.
“The event went really smoothly. It’s our second most successful golf day ever – raising £15,000 is beyond our wildest dreams.
Stephen would be amazed and humbled that people are still giving so much money in his memory.
An extra special thank you goes to Jessica and Nationwide. We’re so grateful we’ve got to know Jessica and that’s she using her Employee of the Year status to support us.”
Signed merchandise donated by the England cricket and football teams, West Brom, Wolves and Warwickshire CCC were auctioned off in the evening.
Adrian and Geoff, both Cure Leukaemia patrons, joined the charity’s co-founder, Professor Charlie Craddock, in paying glowing tributes to the Haydens’ selfless efforts at the dinner.
Other special guests included Dr Salim Shafeek, who along with Professor Craddock treated Stephen, and Cure Leukaemia specialist research nurse Kate Arthur, who was positioned at Worcestershire Royal Hospital thanks to the Haydens’ fundraising.
Kate is a key member of the Midlands-wide network of research nurses the blood cancer charity funds to deliver potentially lifesaving drugs to patients that have exhausted standard treatment options.
“We invited people like Professor Craddock and Dr Shafeek to say we haven’t forgotten what they did for our son, that Steve wasn’t just ‘another patient’ that went through the system,” explained Roy.
“They worked tirelessly to try to save his life. The hospital staff loved Steve. They weren’t just doctors and nurses. They became friends.”
James McLaughlin, Chief Executive of Cure Leukaemia, said:
“We’re extremely grateful to the Hayden family for channelling their loss into helping others diagnosed with this terrible disease.
What they’ve been doing for the past decade is incredibly selfless. They’re an inspiration to us all.
£155,000 is a staggering total. Their fundraising has already saved many lives and will continue to support the work of Professor Craddock as we endeavour to find a cure for all blood cancers.”
Photographs courtesy of: Richard Lycett Photography, Kidderminster
Cure Leukaemia's £1m Centre Appeal 2017