Lifelong charity fundraiser, Linda Kinlock, a retired entertainer from Doncaster has been an avid supporter of Marie Curie for almost ten years.
On June 20, she will be host to two Blooming Great Tea Parties at the Thorne OAP Welfare Centre and Finkle Court, Thorne that are set to attract more than 100 people and raise over £500 for the charity.
Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter tea parties promise an action packed day of entertainment and fun. At each event tea, coffee and homemade cakes will be served. Local businesses have donated produce and gifts for the cake and craft stalls, raffles and tombolas. People are being encouraged to come in fancy dress and there will be a handful of exciting activities for children including a treasure hunt, bouncy castle and traditional games such as crocket.
Linda, who will be dressed as the Mad Hatter, explained: “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been involved in some form of charity and community work through my profession and in a personal capacity but I have a special affinity with Marie Curie. My father sadly passed away following a battle with lymphoma in 2010. Previously a very active 84-year old, it was a huge shock when he was diagnosed. He returned from a holiday in Spain in May of that year and spent the following three months in and out of hospital, undergoing tests and blood transfusions. In August, the consultant broke the tragic news that my father wouldn’t survive chemotherapy and there was nothing further the medical team could do.”
Linda continued: “We brought Dad home but after only two days the emotional and physical strain on me and my 86-year old mum was immense as we didn’t have a care package in place. I’d picked up a Marie Curie leaflet at the hospital and contacted the charity to request help. Not only was the support amazing, it was instant too. The charity contacted us regularly by telephone until they had a team of nurses in place to care for my father in the comfort of his own home – which only took 48 hours.
“The dedication of the team was incredible – they were committed to ensuring my Dad was as comfortable and pain free as possible and their calming influence and empathy really helped the whole family. It was a huge relief to know that he was is safe hands while mum and I got some much needed rest. Dad was a fun-loving character who liked to hold court – he was Mayor of Thorne twice - so he spent many hours entertaining the nurses with his life stories and spoke fondly of the ‘grand lasses’ who were caring for him.
“Sadly, Dad passed away only a week after returning from hospital and, on top of our tragic loss, the out of hours doctor declared his death as unexpected so the police were involved and a post-mortem requested. The nurses supported us throughout the process and truly were our life-savers – they even remained in regular contact until after the funeral. They went above and beyond the call of duty.”
Linda also regularly fundraises for Help for Heroes, the Royal British Legion, Scotties Little Soldiers and the Pilgrim’s Banquet. Prior to her retirement, she worked with young people in the local community to help them overcome issues like drug and alcohol abuse.
Marie Curie’s Blooming Great Tea Party encourages people to invite friends and family around for a tea party between 20 and 29 June to raise money for the charity. In the past, parties have been held in gardens, kitchens, down the street and even on the set of Downton Abbey.
Award-winning blogger, Suzy Pelta, is once again the official Blooming Great Tea Party Queen this year. Here you will find her 10 tea party tips and recipe suggestions such as sour cream banoffee cake, butterscotch muffins and chocolate orange mousse pie.
If you’d like to join in and hold a Blooming Great Tea Party , either individually, as part of a group or club that you’re involved in or with work colleagues call 0845 0524181.
* We’d love to hear from anyone else hosting a charity tea party. Email details, or send your pictures, to firstname.lastname@example.org