history of the trust

Hazel’s Footprints Trust was established in November 2004 by her family who, with the encouragement of all her young friends, determined to continue Hazel’s charitable work.

In its first years the Trust established itself very much as Hazel would have liked – full of energy and optimism. Hugely successful fundraising events were held – the two most notable in the first year were an auction night and an assent of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, both of which helped to establish the Trust on a firm financial footing.

There was much more fundraising too. Pupils from Hazel’s old school sent donations, students from Durham held a Hatfield vs Castle day of sporting rivalry. Events were held locally in the Boarders in Scotland and, in 2005, the very first group of Footprinters were chosen – all of whom were going off to volunteer on educational projects around the world.

In the autumn of 2005, Hazel’s gap-year journal, A Gap in the Life, was published and in a reminder of her other artistic exploits the Hatfield Lions Theatre Company – from whom Hazel had directed a successful play – sent a generous donation from their 2006 performances.

And the fundraising kept coming. Three cars (and two trustees) set off on the Mongol Rally in 2006, there was an East Lothian football match in 2007 One of Hazel’s mountain climbing friend Jill Elliot completed a testing sponsored walk, a bride and groom donated the cost of their wedding car to the Trust, one intrepid explorer cycled from Northampton to Cape Town and two others hiked to Everest Base Camp.

Following the migration of many of Hazel’s friends to London, HFT London was established in 2008 to continue fundraising efforts in the capital. Their greatest (and lasting achievement) is the HFT Highland Fling, which was held on five separate occasions. The Fling usually took place at the Hurlingham Club in Fulham.

Meanwhile, in 2010, a grand expedition was planned by the Trustees to hike through a secluded region of Nepal and on to Everest Base Camp – matching the achievement of the earlier fundraisers. The trip proved just as successful as the earlier Kilimanjaro challenge, and once again was something that Hazel would have heartily approved of.

More recently, the Trust has been a major beneficiary of the Footprinters Ball in 2016 and 2018.  Friends of Hazel and friends of the Trust continue to find ingenious means to raise money for the brilliant causes we support.

All the time the Trust has been sending Footprinters to all corners of the globe, and has been supporting educational projects through grants. If you want to explore some of the places that we’ve visited or made a difference, you can look at our world map. You can also read more about our achievements in this infographic.

And, of course, if you’ve got an idea for some fundraising (remember everything raised goes to support the Trust’s three aims), you are a UK charity with an educational project in need of funding, or you are tempted to apply to be a Footprinter – do get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.