Footballing legend wants your help to net charity’s fundraising goal

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Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson is calling on people to donate their pre-loved items to a charity which organises special days for seriously-ill young adults.

Bob Wilson and his wife Megs will visit the Willow shop in Hemel Hempstead at 3.45pm this afternoon as part of the campaign to help the charity achieve its target of 10,000 bags donated by Christmas.

Mr Wilson, who is Willow’s Life President, said: “Now that Willow has a high street presence, the charity has experienced an increase in Special Day applications from seriously ill young adults living in Herts and we want to make every one of them a reality.

“This autumn, our charity shops are leading the fundraising campaign of raising £100,000 through retail sales by Christmas.

“To reach this goal we need the local community, who has always been so supportive of Special Days, to continue to shop in our stores as well as donate their pre loved items to Willow.

“Every bag really will make a difference.”

Shop staff and volunteer numbers have been increased at each store to process the expected increase in donations and get the items out onto the shop floor as soon as possible.

It is estimated that each shop in Hemel, Welwyn Garden City, Barnet and Stevenage needs 250 bags donated each week in the run up to December in order to hit the target.

Willow recently helped Hemel Hempstead resident Emma Young tick an experience off her bucket list with a family trip to London.

The trip to the capital included theatre tickets to see Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and dinner.

Emma, 37, is living with incurable cancer and with three young children, creating precious family memories is of paramount importance.

She helped open the new Willow shop in at 222 Marlowes earlier this month and said: “Willow organised a day out for me and my family, they thought of everything to make our day extra special.

“I really just wanted the children to have a treat, a day they wouldn’t forget. They’ve been so brave.

“I kept it a surprise from them but I couldn’t wait for the day. A trip to Hamleys, their first theatre experience and a delicious meal.

“It was definitely a day they’ll never forget.

“I couldn’t have given them a day like this without Willow’s help - it was so much more than I ever expected.”

The Wilsons founded the Herts based charity in 1999 in memory of their daughter, Anna, who died of cancer aged 31. Fifteen years on, Willow is now the UK’s leading Special Days charity supporting more than 1,000 seriously-ill young adults every year.

For more information on how to apply for Special Days, visit www.willowfoundation.org.uk