Helen works in the community and events fundraising team as our Community and Events Projects Manager. She makes sure that our annual big fundraising events – the Not the Midnight Walk and Santa Fun Run, in particular – run like clockwork. Here she tells us about what a day in her life is like.

“Part of the appeal of working in Community and Events Fundraising is the unpredictability of my working days. They vary a lot depending on what events we’re running. Over the years, my work in charity fundraising events has taken me up and down mountains, to remote corners of the world and hob-nobbing with celebrities. Since joining Katharine House, I can also add running around dressed as Batman’s sidekick, Robin, to the list.

I’m generally sitting at my desk (these days in a ‘shed’ at the end of the garden) by 8am catching up on emails. I divide my working week between working at the hospice for two days and working as a Forest School Leader in a local primary school. I depend on lots of lists and plans to help me quickly pick up where I left off – it’s fun having two completely different jobs, but it can get a bit hectic at times!

I’m currently working on our flagship fundraising event the Midnight Walk (or as it is this year, Not the Midnight Walk). The pandemic hit our events hard and this is the first ‘live’ event that we’ve organised since January 2020. We’ve spent the last year learning how to run events virtually and we were thrilled when our new virtual Santa Fun Run for Schools smashed fundraising targets after such a tough year, but now it’s back to running events in person.

By 9am, I’m genning up on the project plan of actions for the week. Our events are a real team affair - we do all the event logistics, admin and marketing in-house, so it’s really important to keep communication flowing. Once a week we meet up together either virtually or face to face.

"It’s been really exciting to plan a daytime event this year, which means that we can explore more of the beautiful countryside around the hospice - and we can finally put the hospice on the route."

Today, our meeting at 10am focuses on finessing the details for the Not the Midnight Walk as well as discussing future event ideas, thinking about how they would work, and planning and delivering the marketing.

The safety and enjoyment of our walkers is of the upmost importance, so I’ve recently been spending a lot of time working out the best route to follow for the sponsored walk. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve walked 25 miles – some in hail, some in floods and some in blazing hot sunshine.

I feel very lucky to have a job where I can be active and get outdoors. It’s been really exciting to plan a daytime event this year, which means that we can explore more of the beautiful countryside around the hospice and try something a bit different. The 10-mile walk will head into Adderbury from Banbury’s rugby club, and we can finally put the hospice on the route, which is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

The Midnight Walk is a huge event and takes almost six months of planning. This afternoon, I’m focusing on finishing getting enough volunteers to marshal the event. We need over 100 (!) volunteers who are willing to give up their time to help set up the event on the Friday before the walk and then stewarding, marshalling and de-rigging on the day itself. This year, with the pandemic, I have been worrying about getting enough kind supporters because we just didn’t know how many of our volunteers would still be prepared to help. But we’re nearly there now. Phew!

I’m also doing the final checks for the food stalls that we’ve got planned for our walkers to enjoy – together with their glass of fizz – at the end of their walk. These are some of the best bits about organising an event like this; thinking about the pride that everyone has when they have got to the end!

I’m full of anticipation that the Katharine House magic will work on this year’s Not the Midnight Walk in the same way as it always has done. We can look forward to having just as much fun as we have over the years before the pandemic and beating our fundraising targets once again. I can’t wait to see what everyone is wearing for this year’s ‘Get Glam’  theme as we move out of lockdown and rustle through the backs of our wardrobes for some sparkle and pizzazz. This year, more than ever,  I’m proud to be working on an event that is such a great way to celebrate the work of the hospice.

Sign up now!

To sign up to the live or virtual event, visit our Not the Midnight Walk event page.

Katharine House Hospice