The First Year of Hazel’s Footprints Trust
In its first year, 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 ascent 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 Scottish Borders 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.
In a reminder of Hazel’s 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 friends, 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 raise a decent sum for us in the process. The trip proved just as successful as the earlier Kilimanjaro challenge, and once again was something that Hazel would have heartily approved of.
The Trust Today
As the years have gone on, we have settled into somewhat of a rhythm. From a financial perspective, our funds have remained strong, supported by our generous donors and some very enthusiastic fundraisers. In particular, the Trust has been a major beneficiary of the Footprints 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.
Apart from during the global coronavirus pandemic, we have continued to support many Footprinters (volunteers heading to schools in developing countries). Our first Partner School, Otjikondo, remains a key priority for us, and we have added a second Partner School in Ngambenyi. It’s been hugely rewarding to develop these relationships over the years and see the schools thrive. We have funded many new schools through UK charity partners in receipt via Educational Project Grants, and Our News section and Financial Reports provide further details.