"Supporting our local hospice is something we do together as mum and daughter."

This Mother’s Day we’re sharing the heart-warming words of mother and daughter, Paulette and Julia, who together raise vital funds for their local hospice, Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

Sue Ryder Leckhampton supporters Paulette and Julia having a drink together
Julia (left) and Paulette are very close.

Retired Paulette Vallois, 74, is Chair of the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice Fundraising Group, organising a number of amazing events throughout the year including running a Rubber Duck Race and Easter Egg Trail, starting up a regular hospice coffee morning and even fire walking, which she’ll be taking on herself!

She’s joined by her daughter, 44-year-old Julia Thom, who laces up her running trainers and pulls on her Sue Ryder #TeamIncredible running vest to raise vital funds for the hospice too.

They told us why they are giving something back, and how supporting the hospice has led to them meeting new people and getting something back too.

Julia Thom running the Cheltenham Half Marathon for Sue Ryder
Julia running the Cheltenham Half 2018.

Meet daughter Julia

“I wanted to support the hospice, having been inspired by the wonderful care they gave to a dear colleague, so I decided to run the Cheltenham Half for Sue Ryder in 2018," shares Julia. "It was an amazing experience – so much so that I am running again for them this year, and thinking about entering the London Landmarks Marathon too.

“As part of the training I joined a special hospice running club supporting people taking on the Cheltenham Half to raise funds for their care," she continues. "This has been a great support and I even got to meet Double Gold Olympic Medallist James Cracknell, OBE!”

Leckhampton supporter Julia meets Olympian James Cracknell 546
Julia has met Olympian James Cracknell through her fundraising.

“Through the running club, I have met so many people who’ve experienced the care given by the hospice and their words echo my own – it’s a place of outstanding care," Julia says. "Sue Ryder is just one big family, and I am so thrilled to be part of it with my mum, Paulette."

And your mum?

“Mum is devoting so much of her retirement to leading events, supporting events and baking many, many cakes for the monthly coffee mornings she has set up at the hospice," Julia adds. “Mum is such an inspirational lady, and she works tirelessly to support the fundraising of the hospice, always with a smile. I am so proud of her.”

And it’s mutual appreciation between the mum and daughter fundraising duo.

Leckhampton supporter Paulette volunteerin
Paulette is "always on the lookout for fun, exciting and different events to organise" for Sue Ryder.

Meet mum Paulette

“My daughter Julia has pushed herself in training to support Sue Ryder through her running, and she is determined to raise money and awareness for them," adds Paulette.

“When I watch her taking part in a running event, my pride for her is overwhelming," she continues. "When volunteering at the cheer station at Cheltenham Half last year with Julia’s son, I saw Julia come running round the corner in her Sue Ryder vest; I was so in awe of her and what she was doing that I burst into tears of pride. It was so emotional and I felt so proud of her.”

As chair of a local fundraising group supporting the hospice, Paulette can regularly be spotted in and around the hospice grounds and out in the community right across Gloucestershire, giving her time and skills. And Paulette says she gets a huge amount back in return.

“Just over a year ago, I was stuck at home for two days with no physical contact and difficulty getting out due to horrendous weather we were having; I felt totally isolated and fed up. It made me think about those who lead their lives like this and it inspired me to get into volunteering," she explains.

“And what a difference it has made - my volunteering with the hospice has grown to the extent that I practically volunteer full time! As Chair of the Fundraising Group, I am always on the lookout for fun, exciting and different events to organise to help raise funds for this wonderful place, and I have met some wonderful people too.”

Paulette with duck race co-organiser John Clayton 546
Paulette with Duck Race co-organiser John Clayton.

“My volunteering has given me back a purpose to my life," Paulette says. “I hope my time and skills through the fundraising group will raise several thousand pounds this year for local families needing expert palliative care. 

"In November I’m organising and taking part in a fundraising firewalk. I have never done anything like this before!”

Julia adds: “It’s an amazing feeling to know our support means Sue Ryder can continue to provide much needed care and support for families when it matters. Their care goes beyond the hospice and reaches out to many homes across the county. It is a truly special place.”

Could you be our next volunteer fundraiser?

If you feel inspired to volunteer and become part of our Sue Ryder family like Paulette, find out more about volunteering with us at www.sueryder.org/volunteer.

And if you want to lace up your running shoes alongside Julia, sign up at www.sueryder.org/cheltenhamhalf.

Support Julia

You can donate to Julia’s Cheltenham Half Fundraising efforts via JustGiving.