A Carlisle-based charity has used the recent #twopointsixchallenge, a virtual nationwide campaign created to help charities survive the coronavirus crisis, to generate much needed funds and support.
The challenge was organised by those involved in the UK’s biggest mass participation events, such as the London Marathon, to help with the huge drops in income that charities are seeing at present.
Fletcher’s Fund is a small charity with a big heart and an even bigger personality. Founded in memory of Lee and Leanne Fisher’s son, Fletcher, the charity was born in 2017, shortly after Fletcher died of cancer just before his second birthday.
The charity’s mission is to help 10,000 children with cancer to make memories, play and have fun, and to give Fletcher a legacy. “It is our hope that we can give to other families a little bit of the joy that Fletcher gave to us,” says Lee Fletcher.
“2020 was set to be a big year for Fletcher’s Fund,” he continues. “We got the keys for our brand new office space at the beginning of March, shortly before lockdown, and had lots of exciting and fresh events planned throughout the summer and into 2021. Obviously, most of those are now on hold and we’ve had to cut back on some of our grant-making activities to ensure that we survive the pandemic.” Fletcher’s Fund is conservatively estimating a shortfall of £10,000 revenue from the summer’s lost fundraising events.
But never ones to be downtrodden or pessimistic, Leanne and Lee set about keeping the charity afloat and ensuring that it is in a good place to restart and grow once the world is back to some sort of normal.
Leanne, who is known for her brightly-coloured, below shoulder-length hair, came up with a plan. “I pledged that if our supporters carried out their own two point six challenges, and collectively raised £1000, then I would let Lee shave my head live on Facebook. And if they raised £2000, I’d let him cut my hair however he wanted, again on Facebook Live. This was on the basis of no hats or head covering (other than a cycle helmet when cycling) to be worn for 26 days afterwards as well!”
Unfortunately for Leanne’s locks, Fletcher’s Fund has some great supporters and fundraisers. By the time of the ‘haircut of horrors’ on Sunday 26 April, the target had been met and surpassed. And so, true to their word, Leanne let Lee cut her hair on a Facebook Live watched by over 60 people. The resulting cut is a little out of the ordinary and unlikely to be one you’ll be seeing in salons after lockdown. The donations kept coming in and as it edged towards £3000, Leanne then pledged to cycle a marathon AND to dye the remaining hair whilst also having the shaved areas wet shaved.
On Sunday 3 May, the hair was dyed – a tasteful rainbow at the front and some bright blue patches on the sides – and Leanne is now training for the cycle marathon which will take place on day 27, Saturday 23 May, with the inevitable head shave as the grand finale to her mega 2.6 challenge.
“People have contacted me telling me how brave I am to live with this haircut,” says Leanne. “I’m not sure that it’s brave, when compared to what Fletch went through, and what kids with cancer go through, but it’s certainly daft and bonkers!”
Lee adds: “The response from supporters was far more than we thought possible. We didn’t really expect to hit £1000, and so we are really grateful for the love and support received.”
Leanne teases that this isn’t the end of what is planned now for their virtual fundraising, and tells us that donations can still be made via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/leanne-lee-fisher and at www.localgiving.org/charity/fletchers-fund/.
The team at Fletcher’s Fund is always open to chatting to people about volunteer opportunities and if you’d like to organise your own fundraising for the charity, now or in the future, then check out their website and get in touch. www.fletchersfund.org.uk or find them on Facebook.