Lucy Pond from Rockinghorse shortlisted in Brighton and Hove Business Awards!

Lucy Pond, Challenge Events Fundraising Manager at Rockinghorse, has been shortlisted for the Community Hero Award at this month’s Brighton and Hove Business Awards.

The Awards, produced by the Platinum Business Group and now in their 15th year, offer a unique opportunity to showcase the best innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs across the city.

Lucy was shortlisted in recognition of her wonderful work setting up and running Aidan’s Christmas Dinner Project.

The project was set up in 2014 following the passing of Lucy’s little boy Aidan. Having spent lots of time in hospital, including over Christmas, Lucy realised how important it was to try and bring some normality to other families stuck in hospital over the festive season.

Since then, Lucy has worked incredibly hard to develop the project and support hundreds of local families. Facilitated through Rockinghorse, she raises money to fund festive hampers to be delivered on Christmas Eve and serves a hot dinner on Christmas day, so that families can at enjoy some pampering while in hospital.

Following a year of upheaval due to COVID, Lucy didn’t know if she would be able to offer any support to the families last Christmas. Understandably, hospitals had a range of restrictions to ensure everyone’s safety, which added a layer complexity to an already complicated project.

To make matters worse, the kitchen at the local Ronald McDonald House that the team uses to prepare and cook Christmas dinners was closed due to the pandemic. This all meant that Lucy needed to work incredibly hard to make the project work and be COVID safe.

After raising £3,500 in donations, Lucy worked with Davenports Catering to plan what goodies would go into the hampers. Then Lucy and three volunteers gathered at a social distance in a loading bay on an industrial site to safely fill, wrap and pack 75 hampers, being careful to always conform to government guidelines.

The hampers where then delivered on Christmas Eve to families at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) in Brighton and Special Care Baby Unit at the Princess Royal Hospital and Chalkhill Hospital in Haywards Heath.

Lucy also got sponsorship for three huge fruitcakes and three cheese hampers for staff and parents to enjoy at the Alex and TMBU.

Then, on Christmas Day, five volunteers donned gloves and masks to serve up a socially distanced cold buffet, also created by Davenports Events, to staff and families in the Alex.

And it made a big impact on the recipients. Louise from the Play Team at the Alex said: “All of the families were incredibly grateful; we even had some happy tears! They have made such a difference to so many families in hospital this Christmas!”

Victoria Scott, who was in the Alex with her daughter, added: We are indebted to all the staff at the Alex, Aiden’s Christmas Dinner Project and Rockinghorse. They all made what could have been a miserable Christmas actually enjoyable.

Without Lucy’s incredibly hard work none of this would have happened. She didn’t allow the problems related to the pandemic to stop her supporting families when they really needed it. Delivering 75 hampers and feeding over 30 people would be an astonishing feat in a normal year, but to have achieved it in 2020 was truly remarkable.

At the virtual award ceremony on 24 June, hosted by Natasha Kaplinsky, the 14 categories winners will be presented. So, if you would like to join the fun, take a look at the Brighton and Hove Business Awards website and get your tickets now!

Good luck to Lucy – our fingers will be crossed!



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