Elsbeth is a registered nurse and most importantly a mum to Henry and Georgina. After Henry was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, she was thrown into a the childhood cancer bubble, she felt it imperative that more needed to be done for families going through the battle of neuroblastoma and when Henry finished treatment she felt it was the right time. Hugs From Henry was born and with the support of her husband Michael, friends and family and most importantly from the inspiration her son gave her.
Jade is a trustee of Hugs From Henry as well as a branch manger for Bradleys estate agent. Her managerial background and IT skills have helped the charity to move forward dramatically since her involvement in 2015. Jade has a family of two small children, one whom is Henry’s age, and she brings empathy and compassion with her to the board of trustees.
Tony Dupreez is a trustee of Hugs From Henry. As a commercial property solicitor working at GA Solicitors in Plymouth he is able to provide crucial support and has helped us to become a registered charity. He has also been able to provide an important commercial overview and generate a lot of interest in the charity from his many contacts around the city.
Fiona is a trustee of Hugs From Henry as well as a band 7 ward manger of the busy emergency department in Derriford Hopsital. Fiona brings medical knowledge, compassion and managerial advice to the charity.
The Fundraising and Events team
The Hugs From Henry team is a unique group of ladies who work voluntarily to fundraise for the charity. They formed when Henry was going through his treatment and have formed a strong fundraising force in the Plymouth area. In 2013 the team was voted as the pride of Plymouth fundraisers of the year (formally Hugs for Henry).
My name is Kim Thorne and I am the secretary of the charity Hugs from Henry. I am a primary school teacher and mother of one (but soon to be two).
I initially became involved in the charity ‘Hugs for Henry ‘ when I had just given birth to my first child. While acclimatising to motherhood, I had heard the news that Michael (Henry’s dad and a friend I had gone to both primary and secondary school with, but not seen for years), was going through one of the worst things imaginable…hearing his beautiful toddler had cancer. I was totally shocked and couldn’t stop thinking about Michael, his wife Elsbeth and their gorgeous little boy Henry. Having recently been heavily pregnant myself, my heart went out to Michael and Elsbeth, who were shortly expecting their second child, Georgie, while spending every minute with Henry while he endured intensive treatment at Bristol Children’s Hospital. Elsbeth’s experience of pregnancy and the baby months with Georgie was so very much more difficult to my own that I felt desperate to show some support.
I was keen to help in any way I could so I organised a quiz night for family and friends and raised £950 for the charity Hugs for Henry. This charity aimed to raise £500,000 to pay for treatment abroad that Henry may have needed. Raising close to a thousand pounds by simply organising a curry and quiz night, felt fantastic and relatively straightforward so I set my sights on a skydive with my mum and through sponsorship raised £700. A further £500 was raised through simply asking my school to hold a mufti day. That was it; I had the fundraising bug!
At some point in between the aforementioned events, I met up with the Hallam family and they asked me to join the fundraising team. I happily accepted the invite and have enjoyed working with a motivated group of parents ever since. We have worked together on many successful events and we are all dedicated in supporting Elsbeth to achieve great things with the new charity, Hugs from Henry. This chairty takes the emphasis away from Henry (allowing him to enjoy his childhood and recent better health) and aims to provide emotional support for families who are facing the bleak news that their child has neuroblastoma as well as raising money for ‘wishes’ and research into this horrendous disease.
Being part of Hugs from Henry team is great fun, very rewarding and massively appreciated by the Hallams and any families we are supporting through the toughest times of their lives. Please let us know if you have any fundraising ideas and would like to get involved!
Hi I’m Vicky and I am the Head of Fundraising for Hugs from Henry. I am a mum of two children, and work within the financial industry.
I remember the day I first seen Henry’s story in a local paper, I had just had my little boy. I held my son much longer that night and just couldn’t stop thinking about the Hallam’s. I went to school with Michael and he was just such a lovely guy, I just couldn’t even begin to imagine what they were going through. I wanted to help them however I could, who wouldn’t?I made contact with fellow team member Kelly who i had attended college with and asked to organise a fundraising event to which of course she said yes. So off I went with my first event! This was an all day live music event at a local pub, with lots of different fundraising activities throughout the day (including my daughter sitting in a bath of baked beans). The support was absolutely fantastic and we raised just under £5000!!! Once that event had taken place I joined the team officially and haven’t really stopped since nor do I want to.
When the Hallam’s finally returned from the worst times of their life at Bristol, I had the pleasure of meeting Elsbeth, Henry and Georgina I knew then that I was in this for the long run! Still to this day I cannot listen to Elsbeth talk about this nightmare without crying!
I feel honoured to be a part of this hardworking team and incredibly passionate about building this charity to help as many families as we possibly can.Fundraising is great fun, exciting, nerve wracking, addictive, at sometimes stressful but it’s most definitely rewarding and I absolutely love every minute of it. I am always more than happy to help anyone with ideas on fundraising events, feel free to contact me at anytime! Vicky xxx
My name is Sharon Hallam and i am 57 years old. I have 5 children and I worked as a health care assistant for twenty five years and fostered for many years but i am now retired. I am michaels mum and Henrys grandmother. He is my first and only grandson at present.
I was at home when i got the devastating news i just screamed and howled in pain it was the worst pain i have ever felt in my life, its something you never get over. We had never had anything like this before in our family, we were all totally devastated. I just got into action to try and ease my son and daughter inlaws stress as best as i could. I had never heard of neuroblastoma cancer, i tried to read up about it but it frightened me so much i could not bare it. I knew that Henry may need more than our country could do for him. Elsbeth and Mike decided to set up an appeal, my sister Helen and I went out and put all our energy into fundraising for Henry and helped raise thousands of pounds for his appeal. Now Henry has reached a point where he is stable and enjoying his life as best as he can, he is a amazing little boy, i love him with all my heart and soul.
Now it is time to help other families going through these dreadful times and try and support them as best as we can, it is so needed for people like us to help families in any way possible. We are such a good team. I feel so strongly about this dreadful cancer taking innocent lives that we must keep fighting for others and a cure.
I am also a link for Grandparents if they need someone to talk to about their grandchild diagnosis.
Hello, my name is Becky and I am a stay at home mummy to 2 beautiful children, Sam and Tilly. Until recently I was a shop manager for the British Red Cross.
I have followed Henry’s journey from the beginning, and like most people I was horrified by what this gorgeous little boy and his family were going through.
About a year and 1/2 ago Henry started attending the same school as my daughter. Elsbeth and I stared chatting in the playground one day, and gradually became friends. In June 2015 Elsbeth asked me if I would like to join the fundraising team, and of course I said yes! Being part of the Hugs team is not only very rewarding, but also great fun. The whole family can get involved, my partner Ryan often helps at events and has even had his legs waxed. My Daughter Tilly recently did her own fundraiser selling toys that she collected from friends and made £160.
We are so very passionate at Team Hugs about helping as many children and families as we possibly can. These children fighting Neuroblastoma need us to be their voice. If you feel you can help in anyway please get in touch, and just by attending one of our many fundraisers, you are helping more than you will ever know.
I am Christina Soulsby and I am part of The Hugs From Henry Team.
I have worked in Ladies and Men’s Fashion for over thirty years.
I am a Wedding and Event Coordinator.
I was the Manager of Sam Cox Bridalwear for 2 & a half years.
I am about to start an open University course on Psychology and Criminology.
I first met Elsbeth at a Charity event for Hugs From Henry that my son held.
After a long conversation with Elsbeth at The Pride Of Plymouth Awards 2014 I was so impressed by all that Elsbeth had achieved .
I started doing small fund raising events and then just before Christmas 2015 Elsbeth asked me to join the team.
I jumped at the chance.
I am very happy and excited to be helping such a good cause as Hugs From Henry.
I am the Office Manager and work full time for a local business in Gunnislake. I am 56 years old and have one son who was recently married. I am Mike’s (henry dad) aunt and Henry’s Great Auntie.
When Henry was first diagnosed I was on holiday, it is one of those moments that you always remember where you were, what you were doing. The whole family was in shock, we never had to deal with anything like this, a child with cancer. I had never heard of neuroblastoma, I just thought cancer was cancer, I didn’t realise there were so many different types of this horrendous disease.
As we learnt more and more about the disease we realised as a family we had to help fund raise, for treatment for Henry which was not available in UK. Mike and Elsbeth set about forming a team and an appeal. At that point I joined forces with my sister Sharon Hallam to start fund raising. Our first event, was an Easter Fair and Egg Hunt, it was a great success. So many people came and supported it. Since then we have done many different events from Quiz Nights, Bag Packs, Pop up Cafés to supporting a 71 year old Former Royal Marine who walked 270 miles of the South West Costal Path it took 3 weeks, Sharon, Kevin (Henry’s Grandad), Neil and I worked on a rota, as his support team, making camp each night, packing up each morning and supplying his meals, also raising awareness of why he was walking. We collected funds on his route over £3000. It has been hard work and a lot of planning and organising for our events. But most of all we have had fun and between us, we raised thousands of pounds, for Henry’s Appeal.
I have had, some wonderful times with friends, who have come along and joined in with our events, which has helped make them successful.
Now Henry has reached a point of stability and the charity has changed to Hugs from Henry. I will still continue to fund raise for others like Henry, who so desperately, need our support. I believe in the aims of the Hugs from Henry charity and enjoy being a part of a strong team. I want see the charity grow and help other families, who find themselves effect by neuroblastoma.
Hi I am Steph, I am a mum to my 2 children and I work as a registered mental health nurse.
I first met Elsbeth in our local Morrison’s where she had a stall selling hugs merchandise. We had recently moved into the area from the Midlands so it was the first I had heard about Henry and the charity. I was deeply moved about her story and her beautiful son who is the same age as my son. I thought about Henry, his family and the charity a lot over the next few months.
Then my oldest son started school in September 2014 and he was in the same class as Henry. From meeting Henry and finding out more about this horrendous disease I knew I want to try and do something to help.
In June 2015 I joined the Hugs from Henry team to help out with fundraisers and help spread the word about the charity and Neuroblastoma. I feel very passionate about charity and love helping out at fundraisers and have also made some great friends in the process. I am excited about the future of the charity and look forward to helping and watching it grow so we can help as many children and families suffering from this horrendous disease!
Hi, my name is Becki. I have two children and work part time as an ambulance care assistant.
I have known about Hugs since it first began but only got to know The lovely family personally when Henry became good friends with my son at school.
I am so honoured and excited to be part of this amazing team and really enjoy supporting them with ongoing fundraising and also make as many people as possible aware of Neuroblastoma and the help and support these poor children and families need. Xx
Hi, my name is Vicky and I am proud to be a part of the Hugs from Henry team. I first heard about Henry’s situation through a good friend who is also good friends with the Hallam family. When she told me what he was going through I was shocked and decided to help as a volunteer for the charity to help raise awareness as I believe that it is such a good cause.
In August 2013 I helped to organise the first all day fundraiser at the Staddy Function Centre, a close friend and I were first into the bath of beans and between us we raised £500!!! It was such a great day for the charity! Since then I have helped with more all day fundraisers amongst other activities for Hugs.
After meeting Henry and his family I’ve learnt so much from them, they are such an inspirational family and Henry is such a lovely boy. I’ve since become friends with his mum Elsbeth and the rest of the team and I’m eager to help as much as I can!!
Hi, my name is Julie. I am mum to one grown up son, and nanny to my beautiful 2 year old granddaughter. I work full time and have 2 dogs.
I have followed Henry’s story through Vicky Hanton, and have previously helped out at and supported various Hugs events. However, I have recently joined the team.
Henry’s story has been heartbreaking, and awareness of neuroblastoma and other childhood cancers needs to be increased. I know that I had never heard of it before hearing Henry’s story. Any help that I can provide to help to raise awareness of this awful disease, and to raise funds to help other families is time we’ll spent. I’m looking forward to helping the charity achieve great things.
Hi my name is Holly and I work full time as a management administrator.
I first became aware of Hugs from Henry seeing the article in a local paper. My grandmother at the time was battling cancer and I remember thinking how on earth Henry’s parents were coping seeing their child go through the same sort of process.
A close friend of mine was already involved with them and to raise money, I offered to sit in a bath of baked beans for an hour at the summer fete.
It wasn’t until a fundraiser night out that I met Elsbeth and instantly fell in love with her.
Her bravery and her outlook on life is admirable and if I can have half the love and strength she has, when I have children one day I know I’ve achieved something amazing.
It was then I decided I wanted to help out in any way I can.
My company once a month have a charity day for local charities we support through out the year, and naturally I have put Hugs from Henry down as one of our charities.
People always assume, it will never happen to me which is I think personally why they never get involved. Just the slightest bit of help can make such a massive difference which is why I desperately want to help.
Hi, I’m Mike and provide photography and social media at the Hugs From Henry events.
I can’t actually recall when I first joined the Hugs team , but I remember covering a concert/fundraiser evening at Home Park with ReZonance and Hot Candy – I didn’t know any of the team at that time and offered my assistance with Photography.
Soon after that I was asked if I’d be the team events photographer, and now I also include social media and video footage.
The Hugs From Henry team works hard, completely voluntarily, to raise as much funding as possible for the charity, and it’s a pleasure to be involved
My name is Gemma Fox, I am a wife to Jamie and Mum to Lilly and Noah.
I am one of the newest members of the team and honoured to be part of it. I have a small photography company which has previously supported the Hugs from Henry Charity Ball and I’m looking forward to lending my skills and time to such a worthwhile cause.