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Lauren's final column

Hi Sunshine News readers,

It’s Lauren here in my final column for Team Sunshine!

I’ve spent almost six wonderful years working at The Chronicle Sunshine Fund but it’s now time for me to change direction and take on a new and exciting career in a completely different sector.

Despite me leaving the charity in an official capacity, the team haven’t gotten rid of me quite so easily as I still plan to support this amazing charity in any way that I can whether that be wearing my yellow vest with pride at the GNR or by volunteering at the annual ball! When you’ve worked somewhere like The Chronicle Sunshine Fund, and you’ve seen first hand the difference you’ve made to the lives of local families, you will always keep coming back and championing their work and raising awareness wherever you go.

My colleagues, whom I’m also very lucky to call friends, are some of the most hard-working, kindest, and passionate individuals I’ve ever met. They put their all into this charity to help as many children as possible in our region, and always do it with a smile meaning that every day at work is an absolute joy. Of course, there are challenging days like any other job, but having this team by your side makes it all worthwhile.

The charity has given me so many incredible memories over the years that I’ll treasure forever, and I’ve been able to take part in so many wonderful events and challenges in my time. A highlight for me will always be our first ever Junior and Mini GNR, seeing our children take part in a sporting event, facing their own individual challenges, and then seeing the pure joy in faces when they got their medal.

It’s also an event I’ve enjoyed taking part in with my family which makes it even more special. I’ve climbed the National 3 Peaks, I’ve stayed overnight (twice!) in the UK’s most haunted castle, Chillingham Castle, I’ve attended a Miss England final plus worn an array of amazing dresses at our balls and dinners over the years.

One of my final events with the charity was the North East England Netball Tournament just before Christmas, where Siobhan failed to mention to the team that we’d be playing 80 minutes worth of netball across 10 matches (she clearly wanted to get every last bit of energy from me before I left!). Needless to say I crawled back to my car.

The second final event, of which I’m incredibly privileged to have been involved with from the start, was of course the Stagecoach Santa Grotto Bus. The time I spent with Santa, Whizz Bang and our team was the most perfect ending to my Sunshine Fund chapter. I couldn’t have wished to have spent this time with anyone else.

It goes without saying that I’ve had the opportunity to meet some incredible people in my time with the charity too. I’ve worked with some amazing supporters and volunteers, too many to mention, who have also helped to make my time here special.

It has always been our families and their children however that have meant the most. We’re not meant to have favourites (as they’re all utterly amazing!), but, every now and then there’ll be a family who you just connect with and it just reinforces the reason why you do what you do.

Thanks to our families for trusting me with your children’s stories and inviting me into your lives for a short while, you’ve taught me so so much.

A final thank you to our Charity Director Siobhan, who is quite frankly one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. She leads by example, with pride and she listens, making each and every one of us feel valued.

She has been at the foot of many a joke after being banned from posting on social media on occasion, plus, been responsible for accidently deleting folders and files, or messing up artwork but, we wouldn’t have it any other way as her leadership is the reason this charity is so successful and respected across our region.

I think it’s best to leave it there as I could write pages upon pages about my time with Sunshine Fund. I’m so excited for the charity to have a new team member very soon who will take over the reins of all things digital but rest assured, they have a 10 page, 5,000 word handover document to keep them going!

I hope you enjoy being with Team Sunshine as much as I have.

Thanks Sunshine Fund, lots of love, Lauren x



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