Annual charity fashion show helps grant wishes

PUBLISHED: 16:43 13 November 2014 | UPDATED: 16:43 13 November 2014

At the 2013 fashion show

At the 2013 fashion show

Archant

When Jenni Fuller, founder of the Bodies and Co fitness groups, invited Rachel Ollerenshaw of Molly Olly’s Wishes to come along to the Bodies & Co charity fashion show to collect a £7k cheque for her charity, Rachel was delighted to be given a platform to raise awareness about her charity.

The fashion show is a two-day fundraising event, held at the Spa Centre in Leamington Spa, and has been running for 35 years. It features over 50 male and female volunteer models, aged between 6 and 77, who rehearse for several months beforehand. Almost 30 fashion retailers across Leamington Spa, Warwick and Kenilworth showcase their shoes, lingerie or clothing during the event, and the resulting profits are split between two charities chosen by the models. In 2013 this was Young Carers and Molly Olly’s Wishes.

Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “I think it’s very good to be able to tell our story and share what we do because we are using the hard earned cash of our supporters, and they want to know that we are spending it in the right way. There is also a lot of blood and sweat that goes into organising a show like the Bodies & Co charity fashion event, so it’s important that people know where the money is going.”

As a small charity, Molly Ollys Wishes do not receive any grant funding and by Rachel’s own admission are still relatively new and still learning how to grow and continue to positively impact the lives of others. Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s daughter Molly, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer, a very brave little girl who walked tall, lived her life and inspired friends, families and strangers to provide support to other sufferers.

Molly passed away in 2011 and the charity began from a wish fund that had been started for Molly. So now, Molly Ollys Wishes is a charity set up to provide financial and emotional support to children who are either terminally ill or battling a life threatening illness.

Rachel explained: “The Bodies & Co annual charity fashion event is a fantastic way to raise money for charity and the money makes a big difference directly to the kids who need it.”

The ‘wishes’ provided by Molly Olly’s Wishes are individual and cover anything and everything. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference, and wishes can include Lego sets, garden playhouses and swings, medical equipment, orthopaedic chairs for children with muscle wasting diseases, video monitors for children with seizures, maybe an iPad or perhaps a day out.

Many children who are beneficiaries of Molly Olly’s Wishes follow strict treatment programmes requiring them to be as close to a hospital as possible. Often neither the time nor money is available for a day out, which takes both an emotional and physical toll on the child and on their family.

Days out at places like Legoland and Butlin, organised by Molly Ollys Wishes, can be arranged often at the last minute depending on the health of the child.

“A wish can range from £50 to £450 and just depends on what would make a difference to a particular child at a given time” said Rachel. “The cheque for £7k from Bodies & Co made a huge difference because we spend at least £6k per month on varying wishes. So through the generosity of those who took part as models and those who supported the show through buying tickets – we were able to fund a months’ worth of wishes.”

This years’ supported charities are The Poppy Appeal and The Children’s Air Ambulance. For ticket sales contact Jenni Fuller on 01926 492183 or for those unable to attend but wishing to donate please visit: The Royal British Legion – visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/BodiesandCo2 and the Children’s Air Ambulance – visit www.justgiving.com/BodiesandCo1.

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