Helen is Blooming Marvellous at 80!
It all started with a cake stall at the local spring fayre more than 30 years ago. Fast-forward to 2018 and Helen Bloom has not only just celebrated her 80th birthday but also marked a personal milestone of raising £350,000 for North London Hospice.
Her generosity is ingrained within North London Hospice – whether it was support for the refurbishment of IPU or the North Finchley reception, donations towards the build of the Health & Wellbeing Centre, funding new vehicles, beds or linen or our current kitchen project – it’s safe to say Helen’s fundraising work has been invaluable.
“I had an uncle that died in hospital and it wasn’t very nice”, she said. “Shortly after I read a letter that said ‘everybody deserves to die with dignity’ and that really resonated with me.”
When a friend asked her to join the Hospice’s Mill Hill Support Group in 1985 she said yes straight away and hasn’t looked back since.
“The Group fundraised at local fayres and I always ran the cake stand. They weren’t like today’s cake stalls though. They were huge trestle tables filled with extravagant treats and were always very popular.”
The mother-of-two and grandmother-of-three started her working life as a fashion buyer for Harrods and Harvey Nichols before a change in direction when her mother passed-away suddenly led her to pick up the reins of the family business, which produced high-end silk lampshades. This, she ran for 40 years.
It was her wealth of business contacts that led Helen to launch her annual appeal letter, which has raised a phenomenal amount for the hospice over the years.
“I thought I could do more than cakes. I had all these business contacts and a wide circle of friends and wanted to reach out to their generosity, so I started writing an annual letter to around 120 each year, and the cheques came flooding in.
“So many people sent me their personal stories too, as well as their cheques, on how they had lost loved ones or been touched by the work of a hospice and I always write back to each and every person that sends a donation to say thank you.”
In February Helen was joined by friends and family at the South Herts Golf Club to mark her milestone birthday.
But she’s showing no signs of slowing down just yet – whether its in her fundraising work or anything else – and after meeting with Life magazine, she headed off to cook dinner for 10!