Fighting for Ellie is the flagship event of Princes Ellie’s Trust, the Blyth institution that’s succeeded in raising an astonishing £100,000+ in just 5 years since the tragic passing of local toddler Ellie Long at only 2 years old – and in the process becoming the jewel in the crown of the small town in South East Northumberland.
Ellie’s parents Rachel Long (then Skene) and her husband Dan set up the Trust soon after losing their precious little girl under sudden and devastating circumstances back in 2010. Her little life was taken by Septicaemia caused by Meningitis just 6 short hours after her first rash spot appeared and fundraising in her name was their way of making sure that her memory lived on for her family and their close friends after she was stolen from them so abruptly.
Speaking of their motivations for setting up a charity bank account and embarking on their first event; Rachel explains that one of the things that scared her the most in the aftermath of their tragedy was that people might forget Ellie, or stop talking about her in order to avoid upsetting the family. She wanted everyone to know how proud they all were of Ellie, as well as for her family to play their part in helping prevent other families from finding themselves in their own heart-breaking situation.
What the family could never have predicted was the landslide of untiring support that they would receive from the large but tight-knit community.
What began as a huge circle of friends uniting behind a grieving young family, soon grew into a pride and respect that enveloped a whole town, for a team of dedicated people pulling off one huge fundraising event after another and in doing so providing the town with great social events and delivering regular hefty cheques to both the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the RVI where Ellie was treated; and the Meningitis Research Foundation.
By July 2012 Rachel had been asked to become an ambassador for the Meningitis Research Foundation. In mid-2015 the news broke that all newborns born in the UK were to begin receiving vital Meningitis B vaccinations as a result of tireless campaigning in which Rachel had played a significant part. And before that year was through the 3rd Fighting for Ellie event had raised £13,565 taking the overall total raised by Princess Ellie’s Trust well over the £100,000 milestone.
Now – far beyond just making sure their Princess’s memory lives on in the minds and hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing her – Rachel, Dan and all those who have helped them in their endeavours so far have gone on to hold up their little girl and her memory as a shining beacon for what can be achieved together by a loving family and a pro-active community.
The organisers of Blyth-based Punch-Drunk Comedy – a community movement centred around monthly gatherings with stand-up comedy at their heart – credit Princess Ellie’s Trust and the memory of Ellie herself for inspiring them to embark on their own project which has seen the people of Blyth and neighbouring towns raise 10s of thousands of pounds more for a number of different charities while bringing the likes of Rhod Gilbert and the very best names in comedy to the little Northumberland town, to gig for a returning community audience that has become well-known up and down the country.
They claim that the success of Princess Ellie’s Trust has galvanised the Blyth community into one that knows it can achieve anything that it puts its collective heart into – and the evidence is certainly there to support that bold statement.
So what’s next for Princess Ellie’s Trust?
The huge achievement of £100,000 raised is not a checkpoint that sees Rachel and her team slowing down or pausing for breath, though! In fact, quite the opposite is true. Fighting for Ellie: Season 2 is the 4th outing of the charity’s now infamously successful amateur boxing events and the 2nd in partnership with Blyth-based kickboxing gym Millennium Martial Arts – which is enjoying its own success recently under Tony Cuningham, even joining forces with international giant Sandee Thailand.
The event on 23rd April 2016 is going to be bigger and better than all of the shows that have gone before it, even moving from its usual 350-seater venue to the town’s Sports Centre where there’s room for 800!
Filling it? No problem! 500 tickets were sold there and then on the night the box office opened and they have continued to be snapped up steadily since, with all 27 ringside-tables of 12 sold-out within 48 hours!
There are still a handful of general admission tickets left though, for just £25 each. So if you want to be in attendance for what promises to be a momentous occasion which will see Princess Ellie’s Trust embark on their next chapter – where 23 pairs of brave volunteers from the community will step into the ring, many for the first time in their lives, to raise what is set to be an astronomical figure for 2 excellent causes as well as a number of local Blyth organisations – secure your tickets now while you still can!
You can grab tickets online right now at www.ticketsource.co.uk/punchdrunkcomedy, where you will also find full event info and the organiser’s contact details.
Meningitis & Septicaemia – know the facts!
Before you go, please take a moment to read about the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia and prepare yourself for noticing and acting on them quickly! You could save a life.
Find the full details here: http://www.meningitis.org/symptoms