Knowing the fabulous work they do, I was delighted to be invited to a presentation to Bliss, to one of their volunteers Claire Seales. The presentation took place on Tuesday evening at Clevedon Community Centre and took the form of a cheque for £1003 from the Clevedon & District Flower Club, who are a member of NAFAS (National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies) Find out more about NAFAS here: The Clevedon & District Flower Club, meet on the last Tuesday of the month at Clevedon Community Centre and there is a demonstration that normally starts at 7.30pm.
On this particular occasion, Claire and I had been invited to watch the demonstration, prior to the presentation and what a treat! It was conducted by Elizabeth Witcombe, a very talented, inspirational flower arranger and a great story teller. We loved hearing her story of the time she and eighteen other flower arrangers were invited to decorate Westminster Abbey for Commonwealth Day. Her resourcefulness in challenging circumstances was admirable.
Elizabeth showed herself to be a truly creative artist producing an array of stunning arrangements and innovative designs; sharing her ideas about colours, textures and flower choices. She even made something for Halloween with spiders and webs included! At the end of the evening, the stage was bedecked with her glorious creations which were then raffled amongst the members of the club.
Audrey King, the chairperson, then took to the stage and made the very generous presentation to the Bliss volunteer Claire. Each year, members of the club vote on which charity they would like to support, and then all fundraising goes to the chosen charity. Amongst the lovely events organised last year was a garden party, a fashion launch and plant stalls.
Claire explained that Bliss was founded in 1979 by a group of concerned parents who discovered that no hospital had all the equipment nor the trained staff it needed, to safely care for premature and sick babies.
Determined to do something, these volunteers formed a charity to give vulnerable babies the care they deserve. Almost 40 years later Bliss has grown into the leading UK charity for the 95,000 babies born needing neonatal care every year.
Bliss exists to give every baby born premature or sick in the UK, the best chance of survival and quality of life. They champion their right to receive the best care by supporting families, campaigning for change, supporting professionals, and enabling life-changing research.
Claire’s son who is now a very active, bright, loving six year old was born at twenty five weeks weighing just one pound ten ounces. This was Claire’s first encounter with Bliss and was the springboard for her further involvement. She now works part-time and spends half a day at The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Southmead which is one of the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Units for the South Western Delivery Network with thirty-four cots – sixteen intensive care or high dependency cots and eighteen special care cots. The rest of her day, Claire spends at the Filton Avenue Children’s Centre at Early Birds and Seedlings which is a neonatal baby group.
We were both overwhelmed with the warmth of our welcome and the generosity of the Clevedon & District Flower Club. http://www.facesofclevedon.com would love to be invited back to report on the lucky recipients of next year’s fundraising.
Find out more about Bliss here: