NEXT month, Smile Train UK will be celebrating its 15th birthday.
Since our inception, we have helped create smiles for cleft children worldwide – and we wouldn’t have been able to do this without the time, passion, and support of our family of fundraisers.
We are always amazed to see the fun and creative ways that people choose to fundraise for us and the money they can raise in the process.
To say thank you for all the immense support we have received over the last 15 years, we wanted to shine a spotlight on 15 of our fantastic fundraisers from the last 15 years.
- In November 2012, West Bromwich Parish raised an incredible £15,000 for Smile Train following an appeal initiated by Father Timothy Burke. The remarkable gift raised by the parish community would be enough to provide 100 (yes, 100!) children with free Smile Train supported cleft surgery – giving them a new forever smile.
- In September 2013, seven-year-old Sammy Sutcliffe set out to complete an enormous cycling challenge, covering 700 miles in one academic year. Sammy’s resilience meant he was able to raise an amazing £600 for Smile Train – which would help pay for the surgery of four children.
- Since 2013, Smile Train Ambassador, Nathan Abbott, has taken on a host of swimming focused challenges and raised thousands of pounds for Smile Train in the process. Having been born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate himself, Nathan is determined to give children worldwide the opportunity to receive free, life-changing cleft treatment.
- After witnessing the amazing treatment her son Daniel received on the NHS when he was born with a cleft, Sue Maughan from Radlett, felt inspired to start raising money for Smile Train. After climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in 2012 and raising £8,000, Sue decided she wanted to push her body even further. So, in 2014, she decided to climb to Mount Everest Base Camp – raising a further £6,000 for Smile Train!
- In September 2015, Laurence Chandler from Bristol became one of the youngest people to cycle unaccompanied from John O’Groats to Land’s End. The gruelling 883-mile ride took Laurence 20 days to complete, and he raised almost £3,000 for Smile Train – a tremendous achievement!
- After reading RJ Palacio’s book Wonder with her mother, Sylvie, Isabelle Blears became an advocate for children living with untreated clefts, and in 2015 decided to raise funds for Smile Train. Isabelle and Sylvie got creative and made homemade bubble bath and bath salts to sell at her school’s Christmas fair. After setting out to raise enough for one surgery – Isabelle and Sylvie raised an amazing £450, enough for three new smiles!
- In 2016, long-term Smile Train supporter Peter James decided to launch an internationally-themed festival called ‘East West Fest – Bringing the World Together’ in Market Harborough and Bournemouth. The festival invited local residents to join together and experience arts, crafts, food and textiles from around the globe – while raising money for Smile Train.
- In March 2017, Tricia Robinson from Leeds was inspired to raise money for Smile Train after her great-nephew was born with a cleft lip. Using her experience running a dance school, Tricia coordinated two performances of her original show, ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Very Ugly’, to raise funds for children living with untreated clefts.
- After several years of bringing joy to his granddaughter Sofia Lily Rose with his rhyming tales, John decided to write a children’s book in 2018. After months of hard work and useful feedback from Sofia, John published his first book. John and Sofia decided to make a generous donation from the proceeds to Smile Train – their favourite charity.
- In 2018, Smile Train Ambassador Matilda Lansdown wanted to raise funds for Smile Train so that children around the world could receive comprehensive cleft treatment, as she had. Matilda and her father went on a three-day, 34-mile trek through Verona, Vento and Lake Garda in Italy – raising more than £1,300 for Smile Train!
- In October 2020, in honour of World Smile Day, St Faith’s School took part in various smile-filled activities to raise money for Smile Train and help spread smiles to children with clefts around the world.
- After a difficult year in 2020, young fundraiser Noah Shearsby thought his friends and family needed their spirits lifting, so he decided to host a virtual comedy show in the style of his favourite comedian, Miranda Hart. Setting out to raise £30, Noah exceeded his target raising an incredible £335 – enough to create two new smiles.
- In July 2020, when many sporting events were cancelled amidst the pandemic, Edward Newborn was determined to participate in the ‘Virtual Race to the Stones’. Over the space of a week, Edward completed 100km, raising £300 for Smile Train, helping to give children across the world new smiles.
- In 2020, eight-year-old Jacob McMullen was incredibly moved by a Smile Train advert he saw on TV, which highlighted that for as little as £150, he could help fund a cleft surgery for a child in need. So, Jacob decided to take on five challenges related to the number ‘150’ and raised more than £500 for Smile Train!
- This year, brothers Samuel and Finley Mitchelson spent their bank holiday combing the streets of Banbury, looking for whatever others had discarded. By the time they had finished, Samuel and Finley had put a big smile on the residents’ faces and raised an amazing £700 for Smile Train.
Feeling inspired by these fundraising stories? For more information on how you can fundraise for Smile Train, please visit: smiletrain.org.uk/get-involved-uk.