Welcome to The George Oliver Foundation.
The George Oliver Foundation raises funds to support projects that help improve the lives of children and young people in the UK and abroad.
Each year we fund a range of projects supporting children and young people in areas covering health, wellbeing and education. Recent projects include Soundabout Music Workshops for disabled children, Home Play support with Haven House Children's Hospice and a project for a new classroom at a school in Malawi with Masambiro UK. You can read more about all of the projects we fund here.
We set up The George Oliver Foundation in 2010 after our 14 month old son George died suddenly of a rare illness. We hope to create something positive in George's name and bring something better from our sadness
Since 2010 you have helped us to raise over £350,000 to fund over 40 projects supporting children and young people. The George Oliver Foundation is 100% voluntary run and all funds raised go to the projects we support each year. Thank you for making this happen!
Project Funding 2019
In 2019 we gave funding to these five projects -
Fife Young Carers - Residential training and support programme for young carers aged 14 to 18 who look after family members
Community Relations in Schools (CRIS) - Funding for a residential break for cross-community peacebuilding with two Belfast nursery schools
CHICKS - One week respite break with activities and skilled support team for five UK children
Masambiro UK - Contribution to the cost of building a new double classroom block at Kunyanja secondary school in Malawi
Re-Cycle - Providing 50 recycled UK bikes to high-school students in West Africa plus repair and maintenance training to local mechanics
All these organisations work incredibly hard to support some of the most vulnerable children and give opportunities where they are much needed. You can read in detail about all these projects on our projects pages here Two of these projects have been funded by so many of you supporting our "10 Challenges For George". It is your kind support that makes all of this possible THANK YOU !
We are always looking for new excellent charities and projects to support. We make funding decisions once each year in April. To apply for funding see our criteria here and the application form here. The deadline for funding applications is 31st January each year.
10 Challenges for George
3rd April 2018 would have been George's 10th Birthday and to mark this Mark and Emily took on a year of 10 different challenges, trying to raise £10,000 for George's Foundation. We were accompanied by some very brilliant friends and family throughout the year. We completed the challenges on 14th April 2019 and we are delighted to say we achieved over the target - with gift aid The George Oliver Foundation received an amazing £12,637!
Huge thank you to everyone far and wide who supported this, so many people we don't know at all. We are incredibly grateful for the support. We feel like George would be very proud to see what everyone has achieved. Thanks to this we were able to fund two extra projects this year (2019/20) which is a fantastic result. THANK YOU!
10 Challenges for George List –
1) Chiltern 3 Peaks 18 mile walk – Emily, Ruth, Emma J, Sue, Jess, Laura & Gemma
2) 4 rounds of golf in a day (530am - 10pm, 26 miles total) – Mark & Steve
3) Matagalls to Monserrat 84km walk in 24 hours – Mark, Jamie and Tim
4) 125km Chiltern cycle – Emily, Gemma, Emma & Ellie
5) Cycle and walk the full Ridgeway (90 miles) in two days – Mark & Guy
6) Ride the "Leith Hill Octopus", eight different hill climbs all finishing at the highest point in Surrey (the top of Leith Hill) 58 miles, climbing 6000ft – Mark & James
7) To form a choir and put on a public performance – Emily, Tom, Siobhan & friends
8) To achieve a yellow belt in Karate (starting from nothing) – Emily
9/10) Joint challenge - 85km Tandem ride - riding from our old house in London where we lived with George to Oxfordshire where we live now
How we got on....
On Saturday 12th May Emily, Emma, Gemma, Ruth, Laura, Sue and Jess walked 19 miles of the Chiltern Ridegway covering the three biggest hills on the route - Whiteleaf Hill, Coombe Hill and finishing at Iving Hoe Beacon. It was a tough day with a lot of rain but also a really beautiful route, we were only soaked through at the very end!
On Friday 6th July Mark and Steve Hayes set off at 430am to tackle what is known as "The Open in a day" golf challenge. They successfully completed 4 rounds of golf back to back, starting at 5am and managing 14 hours on the golf course, walking an estimated 26 miles on one of the hottest days of the year (32 degrees!).
On Saturday 15th September Mark set off with James Clement and Tim Buley on a challenge to walk the 84km distance between Matagalls and Monserrat in Spain. The challenge takes place every year and is (thankfully) incredibly well supported with food and first aid stops through the night. They set off at 4pm and walked continuously for 21 hours, through the night, finally arriving in Monserrat at 1pm on Sunday. All of us very relieved they made it mostly in one piece apart from the most horrible blisters ever seen!
Ellie Owen, Emma Cook, Gemma Foreman and Emily were due to take part in the Velo South event on 23rd Sept but it was cancelled due to storms and yellow weather warnings on the route. We were left wondering if it might have been a better option than Sat 6th Oct when we attempted a 100 mile route in the Chilterns instead! It rained from the moment we set off at 8am with temperatures unusually cold down to 8 degees. Not the ideal cycling weather, and we were finally beaten 8 hours later. The cold temperatures and dangerous road conditions made it an incredibly tough challenge and without the benefits of an organised event it was a very hard day. We decided we had to stop after 76 miles, but that's still 122km which sounds better! We were all very sad not to complete the full 100, but on the day we had it was just impossible.
The weather has really not been on our side in any single one of these challenges! Mark and Guy Foreman put in an incredible effort cycling a massive 68 miles off road in a gale force storm on 13th October. It took 9 hours but they managaed to meet us for some hot food before they settled down to sleep the night in hammocks in the woods (!) Unfortunately the rain started hammering down at 4am so even with a tarpauline they were soaked from the start. By 10am they had to stop having completed 6 miles on foot. But an amazing effort by both considering the autumn storms in full effect once again!
On 2nd march Mark and James Archibald took on the "Leith Hill Octopus" a different kind of cycle challenge, riding eight different ways up the infamous Leith Hill in Surrey. It's the highest climb in the beautiful Surrey hills and for those up for the challenge there are eight different ways to scale it! They rode 58 miles in total covering over 6000ft in height, that's Scafell Pike and Snowdon put together!
The George Oliver Foundation Choir officially performed on Sat 30th March in London. The brilliant Tim managed to teach 17 of us four part harmony on four songs - Queen "Radio Gaga", "When I Grow Up" from Matilda, "You Give A Little Love" from Bugsy Malone and The Beatles "All You Need Is Love". We had big range of ability in the group and somehow managed to get it together for the night with everyone working really hard to achieve this. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported and the amazing choir - (L to R from Top) Matt, Zac, Tom, Tom T, Pete, Bill, Rich, Rodrigo, Emily, Polly, Siobhan, Sophie, Chloe, Ruth, Tim, Claire, Gemma, Jess, Sarah - thank you so much for giving your time and making the night such a great success! You can see a little cip of the action here
On what would have been George's 11th birthday, 3rd April 2019, I finally graded for my yellow belt in karate. I trained for about 9 months, with a few set backs in between. It was a steep learning curve for me as I have never done martial arts of any kind and it doesn't come naturally! I did really enjoy the process though, however tough. Big thank you to Chris & Julia for their support and to everyone else for all the encouragement.
For our final challenge we did a joint challenge on our much-loved tandem. We got this bike in the summer after George died as we spent a lot of time on our own and we needed to get out and do something but I was too slow to keep up with Mark on my own bike. We had it rebuilt a few years ago but when we first bought it it was a battered 1980s tandem and we went on it everywhere, Cornwall, France, Norfolk and Bristol. It helped us a lot and it is good to still be riding it today. For this final of the 10 challenges we rode 84km from our old house in London where we lived with George, back to where we live now in Oxfordshire. The weather for once was perfect so apart from the Chlitern Hills (pain!) it was a good day and a great way to finish the challenges. Clip here
We are so grateful to everyone for their support across all these challenges, we are really glad to have found a positive way to mark George's 10th Birthday. THANK YOU!
If you are thinking of taking on a challenge or would like to get involved in any of our fundraising we would love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org
Since we set up The George Oliver Foundation in 2010 we have done lots of different things to raise funds, you can read about two of the challenges Mark took on below. Thank you for helping us do something postitive in George's name!
12 bikes in 12 months...
In 2013/14 George's Dad Mark took on a challenge for George's Foundation to ride from London to Brighton every month for a year, but on a different bike each time. The bikes included a BMX, a Brompton, a recumbant and a "Boris bike". He created the highest number of yells from car windows with the lovely blue and yellow BMX, while getting to the top of Ditchling Beacon on a weighty Boris bike with just 3 gears raised a lot of cheers! Undoubtedly the most challenging (and most painful!) was the recumbant ride requiring an entirely different set of riding skills and mucle power, it's no exageration to say Mark struggled to walk for 24 hours after. The final ride to bring the total to 12 was a tandem ride with Emily.
The pictures below are of the 12 bikes and the 12 times Mark got to Brighton Pier. We are very grateful to everyone who rode with Mark and everyone who supported him along the way. You can read all about the adventure and see more pictures in Mark's blog here
100 Greatest Cycling Climbs / "100 Hills for George"
In 2012 Mark Oliver became the first person ever to complete Simon Warren's "100 Greatest Cycling Climbs". It was a year long challenge to cycle up all 100 hills in the book from the Scottish Mountains to the South Downs. It was as much of a logistical challenge as it was a test of stamina, with Emily, dog Hobbs and later on George's sister Mila, along for the ride. We celebrated the end of the challenge with a group ride up Swain's Lane in Highgate where Simon Warren kindly joined us. According to the author (pictured with Mark below) Mark was officially the first person to complete "100 Greatest Cycling Climbs" within a year.
You can read Mark’s blog about the big adventure here www.100hillsforgeorge.blogspot.com and you can also see our photos of it all here Thank you to everyone who supported Mark's efforts!
George changed our lives forever and we hope that together we can all help change other people’s lives in his name. Thank you for your support.
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Registered Charity No. 1135701