The Skelly Award for 2020 has been won by Mark Galloway (pictured above, sitting!), in recognition of his “Haircut 100” event, which inspired many O2e-ers to shave their heads and raise much needed funds during the covid restrictions. Mark claimed matched funding from his employer, Gartner, and achieved a further $5,000, taking the total raised to £18,000, representing one third of all the total money raised during 2020
Mark joins an illustrious alumni; Lee McGinley (2016), Avril Tuohy (2017), Sue Smith (2018) and Grant Howard (2019). And there were many candidates for 2020, including Catherine Constance (Haircut 100 and Art for O2e), Craig John Watson (1,000 miles run in 2020), Michael Brunker (BRC cyclists and zoom quiz meister extraordinaire), Sue Smith (Art for O2e and lots of other stuff), Billy Murray (not even a sip of booze for 182 days and over £5k raised) and who can forget Heidi and ELHAPs pancake celebrations all the way back in February. Sometimes the efforts are not so visible, but equally fabulous. Step forward the Welsh posse with Nick John, who have worked immensely hard behind the scenes to organise another Welsh cycling weekend and a spectacular gala dinner, both sadly falling by the wayside with the covid restrictions, but very much alive for 2021 (covid restrictions allowing).
Mark Galloway was dragged along to an O2e gala dinner in 2017 by David and Margaret Turner to sit alongside others of the Wadhurst posse. Inspired by the many stories of comfort zone-busting fund raising and a glug or two of red wine, Mark and his friend James decided to cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats in 2018. The morning after brought minor practical considerations as neither had a bicycle, let alone any cycling credentials that would prepare them for the 930 miles of the LEJOG. However, in true O2e style they delivered over 10-days with a little help from Ollie Rastall and a few other O2e out-riders, plus their ever-present partners, Lucy and Harriet. Aside from the pedalling and the painful bums, the dynamic duo raised £18,000 for O2e with Mark again achieving that matched funding from Gartner. Aside from Big Kevs ride, this was the largest amount raised by a single event in 2018.
2019 the guys took it easy, cycling up and down the Welsh Hills on a sublime weekend organised by Nick John and the rest of the Welsh posse. If you do nothing else in your life then come on the next O2e Welsh posse weekend, it is magical for many reasons.
2020 brought the covid crisis and the worst year in O2e history, which has also turned out to be the best for many reasons. Faced with the desperate restrictions, Mark and the rest of the Turner family came up with the idea of the Haircut 100 event, encouraging people to shave their heads from the comfort of their own homes and in so doing to raise money for O2e. Many brave souls took up the challenge, some with less hair than others, but all sharing a determination to get out of their comfort zones and raise money to improve the lives of terminally ill and disabled children. Once again Mark achieved the $5000 uplift from Gartner to take the amount raised to £18,000, a fantastic achievement in very challenging circumstances.
In addition to these achievements, Mark and fiancée Lucy set up and manage the O2e instragram account and contribute to the facebook and twitter feeds. These are increasingly important social media platforms for us to build our supporter base, to keep you all updated on news and events and to maximise our fundraising. It is vital that we continue to build this wonderful community via our social media platforms.
Congratulations to Mark Galloway, a young man whose efforts epitomise the spirit of Paul Skelly, in his memory.