Monday 23 December 2013

Half way to the operation costs

We're nearly a quarter of the way to our fundraising total after only 8 weeks of campaigning, which means half way to the cost of the actual operation itself (the other costs are physio costs). This is totally amazing and all thanks to the hard work and dedication of so many friends and family.  

We originally thought that we'd be able to write a post about each event but there is so much going on that we just can't keep up!  Here is a list of things we haven't posted about yet - do let us know if there's an event we have missed at as we want to capture as much as we can through this blog so we can remember everyone's generosity and commitment, which we are so grateful for.

In addition to events there have of course been many, many generous donations.  

Here's a flavour of the creative ways through which people have been fundraising:
The St Nicholas Preschool nativity play collection organised by Lorna Skipworth
St Katherines School nativity performance collection
St Katherines School staff collection, an additional collection in lieu of cards and presents for each other and Mrs Sweetland donated her pub quiz winnings at the Ludo Lounge in Southbourne 
Hannah Butler has traipsed the streets of Southbourne Grove and had some fantastic donations from retailers there.
Birmingham Carboot selling items donated by well-wishers
Helena Taylor's sponsored swim
Pub Quiz at The Canonbury in Islington organisated by Amy Rodway
A raffle/auction and toddler group event organised by Amanda Snow
Bill and Jackie Howlett's Christmas party and raffle.
The 10th Bournemouth Brownies raised funds by carol singing.
Julie Sampson organised a cake sale.
Collection by Staff at Boscombe Sainsbury's.
Lisa Clark organised a coffee morning at her work.
Great Uncle Charle's party in Devon.
The Crafty Muthas in Birmingham donated half the proceeds of their charity raffle.
As we watch the total raised so far continue to rise, we see that every single penny really does count.  Thank you for your generosity and creativity.  Operation Elliot is a happy operation this Christmas.
We wish you a merry one and will be in touch in the New Year ready to ramp up the next lot of fundraising!

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Fundraising Festivities in Islington

If you live near Islington, London, you'd better note 17th December in your diary.  For that's when The Canonbury Pub in Islington will be holding a Festive Pub Night with a quiz, gospel choir, raffle and more - all for Operation Elliot. What better way to celebrate the £10,000 milestone we've reached this week!

Amy Rodway, who runs The Canonbury, is an old school friend of Elliot's mum Morwenna.  We think she's a gem!
Check out these great posters to spread the word. 

If you know anyone who lives in London, why not tell them where they need to be on 17th December at 7pm?  The more who turn up, the more Amy will be able to raise for Elliot.

If you go to the party, please send us pictures of the night - some selfies! - to so that we can write all about it here. 

Keep up with the latest on the quiz night @thecanonbury and with our fundraising @SDRforElliot


Monday 2 December 2013

Sweetening the working week

A friend of Elliot's Aunty Verity, Caroline Earth, got in touch with us to tell us about a cake and craft sale she's organised that is lasting a whole week long - a week! - for staff at Bournemouth University. 

We asked Caroline to tell us all about her venture:

Can you tell us how you know Elliot?

I went to school with Elliot’s Aunty Verity, and also Morwenna, Elliot’s Mum. We are still good friends and so I really wanted to get involved with Operation Elliot. I’ve known Elliot since he was a baby and seen him grow up to be an amazing and cheeky little boy. 

Why did you decide to help?
Although Elliot is very determined and in many ways his disabilities don’t seem to stop him, I can imagine how much more easily he would be able to play and get involved with things if he was more mobile and looking to the future I think this operation could really help him to be more independent as he gets older. That’s why I want to do what I can to help raise some money.

So what's the plan?
I work in Student Support Services at Bournemouth University. I know that cakes are always popular and there would definitely be appetite for a cake sale. I’ve been making some Christmas tree decorations too which I thought I could sell. My manager agreed to let us have a table for the week in our staff common room area and we’ve put an honesty box on the table for donations. We hope that by keeping the table topped up with cakes for the whole week, we’ll raise more money than if we just did it for one day. 

How have you managed to make enough stuff?
When I mentioned the idea to colleagues, it quickly snowballed and I was amazed at how keen people were to bake cakes and contribute their own handmade crafts for sale. My friend Barbie and I spent our day off making Christmas cards and decorations and we’re really pleased that although simple, they’ve turned out really nicely.

Are you selling your wares anywhere else? We also asked the staff in our coffee shop on campus to have a small basket of cards and decorations for sale and they’ve got an honesty box and some Operation Elliot flyers. That way, we can try to sell to students too… they are always hungry!

Thank you Caroline!
If you'd like to do something similar, perhaps you could visit local Southbourne craft store Create It All.  This new business is also planning to help Operation Elliot with a craft event.  Perhaps you could get involved or take advantage of one of their craft workshops....

Keep your ideas and stories coming, we love hearing from you.

Saturday 30 November 2013


Supergran Liz Christopher
Elliot, Lucas and Jocelyn's granny Liz celebrated her birthday in style last Wednesday by raising £1,800 for Operation Elliot. Coffee and cake work well in Southbourne it seems!

There was a raffle, a 'guess how many sweets in the jar' competition as well as 'guess the name of the doll'. Liz was delighted at the number of people who turned up to celebrate her birthday and helped the Operation Elliot cause by baking cake or spending their cash - or both!

Liz really is a supergran. She helps out, as the children's other grandparents do, with a great deal of childcare.  But that's not enough for Liz - she used her day off being childminder to do this fundraiser. The party lasted all day; an open house with many friends helping at different times to make tea and coffee and drum up support for Elliot. Thank you if you came along, we were astounded by everyone's generosity.

Here are some photos from the day:

Friday 22 November 2013

Coffee and cake and fundraising... what could be better?!

“As soon as I heard Elliot needed all this money, I instantly said I would do a coffee morning.
In all honesty, I just enjoy doing it. It's a good excuse to get a load of mates together, and catch up with them all, and raise some money at the same time. I've done quite a few in the past, for various charities that have been close to my heart, but I have never raised as much as we did for Elliot, he has touched so many people”.

We contacted Annie Bury, one of Elliot's friends, to find out more about how she arranged the coffee morning and what made it such a success:

So, how do you know Elliot?
We first met Morwenna about 20 years ago. My eldest son went on a French exchange, with a family who Morwenna had stayed with so she phoned to ask if she could come and see him when he stayed with us. I then met her Mum, Liz, and we instantly hit it off, became friends, and the rest, as they say, is history!

And how did you organise the coffee morning? 
About two weeks before the event, I sent emails to all my mates who I thought would come, mentioning the men were welcome too. Many of those that couldn't come gave me a donation. I sent a text to the one or two without the internet. In these messages I mentioned Elliot's website and said a little bit about what a wonderful little friend he is. I then started making cakes! Freezing them in advance, a few days prior to the day. I made whole cakes, tray bakes to cut up, and some individual fairy cakes. I borrowed an extra kettle, and had at least 2 kettles constantly boiling.

How many people came? 
I think we had about 35 to 40 here.

Who helped you? 
Jocelyn & Lucas obviously had fun too!
It was at my house and I had help from friends who just joined in! One friend took coats as people arrived, very helpful, as it was a cold day. I laid out lots of mugs, jug of milk and bowl of sugar. I had 3 tables. Table 1 was for plates, serviettes, cakes and biscuits, and the donations box Table 2 held a bring-and-buy with books, bric a brac and wrapped cakes. Table 3 held raffle prizes. Another friend volunteered to do the raffle for me. She was brilliant, and managed to extract lots of money off people!! We charged £1 a ticket, and when we drew the raffle, at the end of the morning, we tried to make sure everyone won something, especially any children there.

Sounds good! What was the best thing about the coffee morning? 
Everyone together, chatting, meeting up and either catching up with each other, or meeting new friends.

Why did it work so well? 
I don't really know why it worked so well! We kept the coffee and tea flowing, encouraged people to eat, had a good mix of girls and boys, and plenty of people so they HAD to talk to each other, no room to be ignored!

How much did you raise? 

Keeping the raffle ticket safe!
Yes! I was thrilled and very touched by friends’ generosity. Asking for donations helped - I never ask for a fixed amount, apart from the raffle ticket price. I think if you ask for say, £2 for coffee and a cake, you get £2, but if you leave a box and ask for a donation, with any luck, people will put in a fiver!! At one point I asked everyone to listen, while I thanked them all for coming, and helping, and asked Elliot’s Mum Morwenna if she wanted to say anything. She mentioned the website again, so everyone knew where they could get more information.

And finally, Annie, tell us why you love Elliot!
Elliot is the most wonderful chap: funny, brave, interesting, generally yummy!! He loves clocks, and so does my husband, so they both wound up the many clocks in our house during the coffee morning!!

Thank you Annie.

If you'd like any support to organise a coffee morning or other fundraising event, please don't hesitate to contact Sally, Morwenna and James at We can help you by providing flyers, publicity and even put you in touch with other friends who want to help.

Saturday 16 November 2013

It's all go at Operation Elliot HQ!

People have been getting in touch from all over the place to tell us about the fundraising events they are planning, activity is really hotting up! Are you looking for inspiration about how you could help? Well perhaps these ideas will get you thinking... 

There are lots of exercise-based events planned... Elliot's friends getting competitive with the intensive pre-op physiotherapy he's doing perhaps?! 

Elliot hopes to join Carol's sponsored bike ride
Carol will be doing a sponsored bike ride on 23rd February from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier and we're hoping Elliot will join her part of the way on his impressive trike. 

The Bournemouth University Bobcats American Football Team are going to lift the equivalent of a plane in December. Now that's a way to get ready for over-indulgence at Christmas! 
Helena will be swimming 100 lengths and asking her fellow gym members for sponsorship and Mark is thinking about doing a bike ride to France for Elliot. All pretty impressive, and a little scarey for us couch potatoes at HQ.

And then there are the folk who wish to entertain...
Morwenna and James may ask everyone to get their gladrags on for a black tie dinner fundraising evening. Sally and her parents are putting on a Black Country Comedy night near Birmingham. Other folk are looking into organising a race night at their local cricket club - fundraising and the chance to win money, what could be better?!

Here at HQ we are planning to set up a nationwide collection of old mobile phones...
More on that coming soon, so get looking in your drawers or have a think about where you could arrange a collection point. Your school? Your church? Your local pub perhaps? 

There are also the the really crucial, regular events that will keep us on track to reaching our fundraising goals. Cake sales and work collections, Facebook shares and Twitter posts, and good old fashioned word of mouth - spreading the word is the best thing we can all do as we never know who might want to get behind the campaign by donating or helping out at an event. 

If you have a fundraising idea we'd love to hear about it, even if you can't manage to do it yourself. Do leave a comment below or email us at

We're looking forward to hearing from you!

Morwenna (Elliot's mum), James (Elliot's Dad) and Sally (Elliot's grown-up friend).

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Great News

Hi, it's Elliots dad, James, here. I wanted to update you on our donations service. We have changed from Fundrazr, who have done a sterling job, over to a Just Giving page. We have asked Tree of Hope to be the charity that we can run Operation Elliot through, so if donations are made they will go to Tree of Hope and then on to Operation Elliot and in that way we can use the Gift Aid scheme to add to the pot which is just a brilliant bonus! The Fundrazr page will still be active for a while yet as we have sent out Facebook updates and flyers all over the place with their address on them but we are starting to spread the word about the Just Giving page and if you have shared or mentioned our campaign can you possibly share again and mention that we now are running with the assistance of the Tree of Hope charity so any donations are now charity donations and Operation Elliot wont get charged for them at all. Thank you!

Monday 4 November 2013

After only a week...

Right now Elliot's Mum and Dad are at Great Ormond Street Hospital with Elliot as he is having another botox treatment in his legs (more about that in a sec).  They have asked us here at Operation Elliot HQ to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated so far.  [Editor's update on Tuesday: Elliot came round from his general anesthetic this afternoon and is doing well].

After only a week of campaigning you have helped us to raise over £1,400.  Morwenna and James are bowled over by the generosity of everyone who's donated, many of whom don't even know them or Elliot. 

This is just the start of a big challenge!  We only have until March 2014 and it's a lot to raise. To get us to our £66,300 target we will be shifting the focus towards fundraising events - asking people not just to donate but also to organise.  There are cake sales and quizzes and charity evenings and all sorts being planned across different locations. If you have an idea we'd love to feature you in this blog. It doesn't have to be big, every little helps. 

We are also trying to widen the network of people interested in the campaign. Press releases are being prepared, we're learning how to tweet (@SDRforElliot), and already we've had some great support. We hope to be able to post details of Bournemouth University American Football Club fundraising plans soon - they have decided to take on Operation Elliot as their fundraising project this year. Needless to say, we are delighted!

While we've all been fundraising, Elliot has been enjoying Halloween and doing lots of physiotherapy to increase strength in his calve and thigh muscles.  

It's these muscles that are problematic for Elliot, and anyone with diplegic cerebral palsy.  And that's why he's having more treatment at Great Ormond Street this week. Botox will be injected into four places in each leg from the top inside muscles (adductors) down to his calves. Botox helps reduce spasticity (tight muscle tone) by relaxing these muscles in order to make walking easier and more comfortable.  

It's complicated though - loosening muscle tone usually makes falls more frequesnt until the toxin has worn off after around 6 weeks.  What it does enable is an intense bout of physic and strengthening the core muscles, making them stronger when the toxin has worn off.  Sound impressive? It is, especially as Elliot is only 6!

Unfortunately the botox treatment is getting less and less effective as Elliot grows.  Hence our determination to prepare him for a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy and make life much, much easier. 

Thanks again for your support
Sally at Operation Elliot HQ

Saturday 12 October 2013

A little bit about Elliot

Before we tell you about Elliot, here's the important link for the Operation Elliot Just Giving site.

Elliot is a six year old little boy with cerebral palsy and severe Haemophilia A.

He's just like any other six year old in many ways - he wants to be a pilot at the moment but the next best thing would be to be a pirate. Having cerebral palsy means that he can't do all the things his friends and siblings do and he gets understandably frustrated as a result.

He has recently been assessed by a specialist team at Great Ormond Street Hospital and is considered to be a strong candidate for a potentially life changing operation called a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy. This is a huge spinal procedure which aims to give him much more freedom of movement. In order to be in the best possible position to get the benefits he has already started an intensive program of 'prehab' with a physiotherapist.

We're hoping that we'll have enough funds to go ahead with the operation sometime mid 2014 but it's no small undertaking. Currently Elliot is doing preparatory physiotherapy at a cost of £6,300. The operation will cost £30,000 and after 4 weeks in hospital Elliot will come home to a physiotherapy rehab programme lasting two years and costing another £30,000.

Elliot's friends and family have already started fundraising but we can't reach the target of £66,300. without extra help.

We know there's a lot of work ahead but it's all going to be worth it so let Elliot know you're right behind him -  please donate now or get involved by organising your own fundraising event.