Earlier this year we welcomed a new trustee to the Barrie Wells Trust family, Jackie Wild from the Wirral.
Read on to learn more about Jackie, how she became involved with the Trust and what she thinks is the best thing about Box4Kids!
How did you come in contact with the Barrie Wells Trust and Box4Kids?
In 2010 my son Elliot was undergoing chemotherapy for leukaemia at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. He was invited to Barrie’s box at Anfield for the LFC v Stoke game, witnessing Luis Suarez’s home debut.
We had such a fabulous evening and as I was tucking Elliot into bed that night, he told me watching the match in the box had been the best night of his life! Tragically, Elliot lost his very brave battle just a few weeks later.
In the years that followed Elliot’s passing Barrie invited me along to co-host some sporting events, and the number of events I help host has just grown since!
Do you have a favourite event to host?
Despite all the lovely events I have hosted over the years… my favourite event has to be the LFC box as I, just like Barrie, am an avid Liverpool supporter. Watching the Mighty Reds from the box with the children, who are over the moon with excitement, is an experience that is just fantastic. I love helping them take photos from the balcony, looking at their faces when the team scores and of course singing the famous “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
We hear you have a secret weapon to create a great atmosphere in the box…
Occasionally my eleven-year-old son Finley comes along to host Box4Kids events. He loves ensuring the kids are all ok and helping create an experience of fun and they have such a great time together. Recently he helped me host a day at Haydock Racecourse, as well as Disney on Ice at Manchester Arena, where he met some great kids.
Jackie and Finley hosting a Box4Kids event at Manchester Arena, October 2016.
What keeps you preoccupied when you are not being a host for Box4Kids?
Every year I organise one of the North West’s largest football tournaments which we hold in Elliot’s memory to raise money for Claire House Children’s Hospice, who looked after Elliot in his final days. Over 160 teams participate annually, and to date we have raised more than £100,000.
I also love spending time with my husband Ian and our son Finley. Just like Elliot, Finley loves football, as well as cricket, so I am always on a football side-line in the winter or on a cricket field in the summer months. I personally prefer watching Finley play cricket – it’s far warmer!
What was your reaction when you were asked to become a trustee?
When Barrie rang to invite me to become a trustee I replied, with tears in my eyes, “It is the nicest thing I have ever been asked to do!” I am truly humbled and so honoured to be asked to undertake this role!
To be part of the charity, working alongside Barrie, the dedicated team and the other trustees to provide seriously ill and disabled children with these amazing experiences, is so rewarding and a role I simply love!
What has, so far, been the most rewarding part of your involvement with Box4Kids?
I have been fortunate enough to meet so many brave children who keep astonishing me by always smiling and enjoying their time in the box, despite their daily struggles. That, and seeing how much it means not only to the children, but to their parents too, are the two most rewarding things about being involved with this charity.
As a mother, experiencing her little boy have what he described as the best night of his life through Box4Kids makes me passionate beyond words to provide the same to other parents in the same position. Elliot forgetting all about his illness, hospitals and chemotherapy watching his Liverpool heroes… it is a memory I will cherish in my heart forever.
I often tell Barrie how he should be so immensely proud over the tremendous charity he has created – I for one is certainly very proud to be part of it!