Spotlight on camper parent fundraisers

At OTW, we rely on a network of dedicated fundraisers who help support our charity, making it possible for us to provide free residential camps across the UK. Many of these dedicated fundraisers are the parents of campers, who get involved in various ways, such as organising events, participating in sponsored activities or nominating OTW as their ‘Charity of the Year’, in the workplace or at school.  

The time and dedication of our parent fundraisers is vital to us – which is why we are putting the spotlight on two camper families, to demonstrate the relentless hard work and dedication they have put in to raising funds for camp… 

The Burkinshaws – A whole family of fundraisers!

Over The Wall had such a huge impact on camper parent, Rachel Burkinshaw’s children that, for the last three and a half years, Rachel and her family have tirelessly fundraised for Over The Wall, in almost every way imaginable.  

Rachel’s son Morgan has eosinophilic colitis (EGID) and mast cell activation syndrome as well as a mild heart condition. The consequence of Morgan’s illness is that he has allergies and intolerances to many foods and eats an extremely restricted diet. 

“There’s no question about it – camp changed both Grace and Morgan’s lives” says Rachel. “After sibling camp, Grace came back a completely different child to the one who went. Up until camp, she had felt as if she was the only child who had a sibling with a health challenge. Camp did so much for her self-esteem and confidence, which is why we wanted to do everything we could to raise funds for Over The Wall.”  

Above: Grace taking part in a sponsored sky-dive for Over The Wall

Reaching £5k 

Ever since their discovery of camp, Rachel and her family have been determined to take advantage of every opportunity to raise money for OTW. Having recently totalled up the funds the family have raised, Rachel calculated that since 2016, the Burkinshaws have (so far) raised a jaw dropping sum of over £5k! 

How they did it 

Over the years, both children have raised money through their non-school uniform days, Morgan created breaktime games at his junior school, the family has hosted cake sales, manned stalls at summer fairs and Grace even cut her hair for the Little Princess Trust – which raised around £500 for OTW, (a fee that was match-funded through The Big Give Christmas Challenge). 

Rachel nominated OTW as a beneficiary of the Bristol Hippodrome by asking them to do a bucket collection after performances for two weeks over the summer and her husband took part in a sponsored ‘polar dip’ in icy waters for an astounding 20 mins to celebrate OTW’s 20th anniversary.  

The family collectively raised over £200 in their local Tesco (that was doubled through the Abercrombie and Fitch Challenge), and Grace and Morgan even sold their unwanted toys on eBay before donating every penny to Over The Wall.  Most recently, the two children took part in a thrilling sponsored indoor sky dive, raising even more money for camp.  

“We’ve realised that the small things really add up too” says Rachel. “For example, we have a pot on our kitchen counter and put all of our loose change into it. We’ve also bought lots from OTW’s online shop, which has been good for both raising money, and awareness, as we have bought Christmas cards, hoodies, car stickers and bandanasBecause it is OTW’s 20th year we also started regular giving with OTW and contribute £20 every month.” 

When the family had an unexpected windfall from a tiny piece of land (which they didn’t even know they owned), they donated the sum to OTW in full, and also donated an unexpected small PPI claim.  

“There’s no question about it- camp was life-changing for both Grace and Morgan, so we want to give as much back as we can. The children love to raise money for camp- it’s close to their hearts and it means so much to them. Camp improved Morgan’s confidence so much that he is going on a residential trip to Italy with the school next year. I don’t think he would ever have thought that was possible if it wasn’t for camp.” 
You can read more about Rachel and her family’s story in her OTW  guest blog.


Karen Tomlin – Camper parent and fundraiser 

Karen’s Tomlin’s son Samuel was born with a heart defect and required immediate surgery at birth. After the operation, doctors explained that Samuel would need further surgery later in life. It was in 2017, just before a major operation, that Samuel, then aged 9, began having seizures that were entirely unrelated to his heart condition and he was also diagnosed with epilepsy.  

Samuel’s health caused him to feel vulnerable, stop leaving the house and to lose his confidence, as he began to avoid going out due to his fear of having a seizure. “I remember Samuel asking questions like- ‘what happens if I have a seizure whilst walking down the stairs?’ He really needed help finding his confidence” says Karen.  

After attending camp, Karen saw a huge change in Samuel’s behaviour.  

“When he comes back from camp, he is more self-assured, confident, outgoing, and settled. Camp has been a really big boost for him- it helps him to understand that his health doesn’t rule him – he rules his health.” 

Giving back to OTW….   

After camp, Karen was keen to raise funds for Over The Wall and had remembered that her employer, Coloplast annually choses a charity of the year. Staff were asked to nominate a cause close to their heart, that may reflect the ethos of the company- (which is to make life easier for people with deeply personal and private medical conditions).  After a staff vote, OTW was chosen.  

“I was delighted that Over The Wall was chosen as charity of the year. Now, we will be contributing to the charity through a whole range of fundraising activities including a dress down Friday, special events, an inter-department sports day, a family fun day with raffle and many other different activities and events including sponsored runs.” 

“Staff will also get involved in volunteering for Over The Wall, and plan to come to camp and set up in 2020. I feel very pleased to give back to a charity that has both helped and affected me personally.” 

If you are interested in helping to raise funds for Over The Wall or would like to know how you can help, you can contact the fundraising team directly on giving@otw.org.uk or call 02392 477 110.