Hospice champion’s 70 challenges before her 70th birthday

Sheila Whitehead has a list of 70 new activities she wants to do before her 70th birthday as a fundraiser for Ashgate Hospice.
Sheila Whitehead has a list of 70 new activities she wants to do before her 70th birthday as a fundraiser for Ashgate Hospice.

Make my birthday wish come true - that’s the plea from Sheila Whitehead who is aiming to raise hundreds of pounds for Ashgate Hospice before she turns 70.

heila is seeking sponsorship and support to complete 70 tasks in the run-up to joining the ranks of the septegenarians.

“My dream is to raise £700 for the hospice,” she said. “I started out with the ambition of raising £70 but within three days, I had already got £20. My grandson, Ross Brusby, sponsored me £10 to ride a horse and my uncle, Frank Andrews, who is 82, gave me £10 to bake a cake for a Macmillan coffee morning.”

Top of her wish list is a trip to France to visit the grave of her great-uncle George Isaac Fearn, who lost his life as a serviceman in the First World War and is buried at the Albert Memorial extension, Somme.

Sheila, of 1 Newbridge Lane, Old Whittington, said: “I became fascinated by my great-uncle because he was born out of a liaison between my great-grandma, who was a lady’s maid, and a lord. I have written a series of poems about him; one of them was inspired by a woman with a child in her arms, lying a rose on his grave. I want to lie a rose on my great-uncle’s grave.”

“I’d also like to massage someone famous, especially Bernie Clifton. I used to work on Peter’s Textiles stall on Chesterfield market and sell Bernie’s wife cloth for the daft stage props he needed. I used to think ‘I like this guy, even though I’ve never met him!”

The charity champion has drafted in support from keen knitters at New Whittington Friendship Club, Renishaw and Eckington to make 70 blankets and 70 elephants for the Aquabox disaster relief effort, which is run from Wirksworth.

Knee replacements have given arthritis sufferer Sheila a new lease of life and the chance to dance again, after ten years performing with Chesterfield’s Feet First Appalachian dancers.

Her wishlist includes performing with the Cock and Magpie Morris Dance team and dancing a slow foxtrot, waltz and quickstep.

She is also planning to take part in Ashgate Hospice’s Midnight Walk next June. “I am in training with my new knees, which are made of titanium steel and a bit of plastic. I have been walking along Chesterfield canal and at the moment I can walk four miles.”

Sheila’s grandson Callum Hodgson is a trainee in the media department at Ashgate Hospice and will be among those celebrating her 70th birthday on September 26, 2014. A party at Hasland Village Hall will give guests the chance to pin presents on a money tree as a final contribution to Sheila’s year of fundraising for the hospice.

To sponsor Sheila, visit http://www.justgiving.com/Sheila-Whitehead1

Sheila’s wishlist

1. Visit the war grave of my great-uncle George

2. Go to a football match

3. Massage someone famous (for a donation to the hospice)

4. Make a fairy godmother’s dress

5. Wear above outfit in public

6. Camp under canvas

7. Go to a folk festival

8. Dance with Cock & Magpie

9. Go on a hike with walkers group

10. Finish my embroidered tablecloth

11. Meet Richard Branson

12. Spend a day with Aquabox packing

13. Have one of my poems published

14. Write a short story and send it to Prima magazine (hoping for publication)

15. Have an away day to see seals

16. Cook sausages on a beach

17. See a ballet

18. Learn to play an instrument

19. Meet the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire

20. Climb a small hill or mountain

21. Enter a handicraft in Egton show

22. Enter photos in Egton show

23. Enter a scone or cake in Egton show.

24. Paint a picture good enough to fram

25. Visit Edinburgh

26. See Edinburgh Tattoo

27. Take part in the Midnight Walk for Ashgate Hospice

28. Make a Christmas for myself and Uncle Frank

29. Make Christmas pudding

30. Go on a card-making course

31. Make Christmas cards.

32 Put photos in albums

33. Ride a horse

34. Visit friends not seen for 30 years in Norfolk

35. Visit an observatory

36. See a shooting star

37. Ride in a Cinderella coach with great-granddaughter Evie Jo Brusby and grandson Alfie Garlick

38. Collect 70 elephants or teddies for Aquabox

39. Collect 70 blankets for Aquabox

40. Drive a tractor

41. Lean how to do willow weaving and make a Christmas wreath

42. Hold a vintage tea party in aid of Ashgate Hospice

43. Make decorated cup cakes for the vintage tea party.

44. Learn to use a laptop computer

45. Send an email from the laptop

46. Learn how to load photos and send them from a laptop

47. Dance a waltz

48. Dance a slow foxtrot

49. Dance a quickstep

50. Catch a fish

51. Make a cake for Macmillan coffee morning

52. Make jam

53. Make chutney or pickle

54. Visit a mosque

55. Go to a spa

56. Have a massage

57. Start Ashgate Hospice’s lottery

58. Go a-wassailing

59. Ask some friends to give a donation for hospice rather than buy me presents

60. Make an Advent calendar

61, Donate a Light of Love

62. Take three people to Renishaw Church coffee morning when Aquabox is demonstrated

63. Visit Lincoln Cathedral

64. Make a seahorse cushion

65. Make 70 yards of Christmas bunting

66. Organise a craft session

67. Visit Arbor Loww stone circle

68. Set up a blog or Twitter account

69. Keep a story log of year’s endeavours

70. Make a display of all my year