Hello again

7 Dec

Hello there. It’s all been a bit busy the last few weeks. So when the third person asked if I’d given up the blog, I thought it was about time I checked back in. I’ve not given it up, not at all. But work and other things have just been relentlessly busy since our lovely trip to GRH to pick up that big fat cheque. And as it gets towards Christmas, it gets harder again, and sometimes that makes it difficult to write. Which is infuriating, because at other times, writing really helps.

We’re all getting along pretty well, apart from the winter viruses which are sweeping around. We’re also in the middle of mocks season. Chris and my grasp of chemistry, biology and physics has been revealed to be be a significant weakness. We’re pretty good on English though. And beer.

Cal is just fine in his semi independent flat. He seems to go for a surprising number of haircuts, so we’re expecting to find him shaven headed when we go to pick him up for Christmas next term. He’s going to be doing some work experience in our local shop for a few days when he comes home, helping them do deep cleaning for the new year. He’s a trained operative of course, so he should find it very easy. As long as they have the right colour cloths. He will be quite strict about that.

On the TKOE front, we’ve been sadly lazy. But we’ve got a wedding coming up next year which is raising funds for TKOE; and Miss Deborah Morgenstern, geography teacher and beech leaf noyeau maker, also got married and all her guests raised money for Hope Support Services. Such a brilliant idea. Thank you to all of them for doing that.

Now, Amy, Rosie’s friend, is going off travelling next year, and wants to do things for TKOE whilst she’s at it. Any ideas? Rosie would have been 23 in January, so she’s wondering about something to do with 23. But not sure what.

So, the blog is still running. TKOE is still running. We’re still running. And still remembering Rosie.

Jo xx

We had to go to hospital today @GHNHSFT

31 Oct

Well, there we were thinking we wouldn’t need to see the inside of a hospital for a long long time.
But, you know how these things go. Everything is chugging along nicely one minute and next thing you know, something happens, and there you are, back in Gloucester going through those new glass doors, turning right down that well trodden corridor and …well ok, it didn’t quite go like that because we were stopped by the nice air ambulance lady who managed to sell me the idea of setting up a direct debit for a new lottery they’ve set up. I don’t know how that happened.
Anyway, that diversion aside, it was nice to see Rosie’s friend Corinne’s mum, who made us a cup of tea whilst we waited for our appointment.
We were a bit nervous because there seemed to be more than one person in the consulting room, and that tends to be a bad sign – bad news, or medical curiosity news, we’ve found.
So, I guess pictures speak louder than words, so here’s the news we got:


THANK YOU Gloucester Orthopaedics outpatients – you are fabulous. £400 raised by all sorts of things. Mainly cake eating. In a hospital :)

And the cheque even said Yay on it :).

We are so grateful. And thank you Dawn (that’s her on the other end of the cheque) for thinking of Rosie and TKOE.

Jo xx

On the things which grieving does to your mind, and some wise advice from an unexpected quarter

5 Oct

That’s a long title isn’t it? This morning has been a bit cathartic in a surprising way. We’ve been autumn cleaning – like spring cleaning, but at a different time of the year. Apparently, it’s a thing, according to the man we were just listening to on the radio.

First up for the autumn clean has been a load of kitchen cupboards. We found:
a packet of ground rice, unopened, best before May 2007 – that was the oldest, to be fair. I think I’d got it during a shortbread making spree
5 assorted jars and boxes of ground cinnamon
a jar of something which may once have been prunes but which now looked like an extra from Dr Who
20 mugs we never use
bits of old kitchen equipment we no longer have
three part sets of happy birthday candles

We nearly disposed of Rosie, Cal and Sylv’s hot chocolate mugs. Luckily they were rescued but not before accusations of trying to destroy childhoods.

And then, we had to deal with the empty Pears liquid soap container. That container has been embodying my inner problem with getting rid of things which Rosie may have seen or touched. We’ve never wanted to create some sort of shrine to her. But there is an internal voice, which points out, a bit tentatively, things which would still contain some kind of Rosie DNA. And this soap container was what she was using in the few weeks before she died.

It’s been next to some pottery whistles she bought back for us from Majorca. So why was I more keen (Chris hadn’t noticed it really) to think of her, dying, when I saw the Pears thing, than I was to think of her living and enjoying life, when I saw the whistles. So, not without a bit of difficulty, the Pears soap container has gone into the bin. And I’ve decided to concentrate on rebuilding the memories of Rosie when she was full of life, and not those last few weeks.

And this has been helped by some very wise words by someone who doesn’t like being mentioned in this blog. Autumn means death and decay and short days and fog and ice and summer being a distant memory. And during a moan about it, this wise person said that for her, autumn meant cosy nights, fires, hot chocolate, getting ready for Christmas and all sorts of lovely things. See, concentrating on the good things, not the dismal ones. Wise.

Jo xx

@EarlMortimer from @knockoneffect – you are all fabulous. Thank you :)

22 Sep

Chris here. Don’t worry, Jo’s fine; it’s just my turn! I normally leave her to do the public- facing TKOE work. She’s better with words. And people. And stuff generally. I mostly carry boxes and go to the post office. It’s better that way. Not that we don’t share the same sentiments – she just says it better.

Anyway, today TKOE was invited to meet the wonderful young people of Earl Mortimer School in Leominster. They’d heard Jo speak about Rosie, grabbed the message with both hands and started fundraising. The SMSC group organised an American day, charged other students to come to school and sold them cakes, raising a fabulous £440 for us. Not only that, but they invited me to school to meet them, gave me lunch, provided some very useful market research, asked intelligent questions and had run a ‘make a design for TKOE’ competition which yielded some brilliant designs for future products. Impressively, I then forgot to bring the designs back with me, but that will be sorted out (probably by Jo. Hmm). I then had the pleasure of being interviewed for the school radio station by Tilly and Demi, two rising young broadcasting stars in the making. (You know Tilly – she did a guest blog, and she’ll be doing another soon, so look out for it). Their professionalism shone through even when they were let down by the technology. They got it sorted in the end and as soon as we get it we’ll post a link so you can listen to my adenoidal tones as I burble nonsense in response to their carefully crafted questions.

The fundraising is wonderful, but what’s also brilliant is that the young people I met today were inspired by Rosie, three years after she died, to put in what must have been loads of work for the benefit of people they don’t know, and will never meet. Young people today, eh?

So thanks, Earl Mortimer School: Adrian and Kelly and Tilly and Demi and everyone in the SMSC group. It was lovely to meet you all.


Deathday 3

12 Sep

Yep, we’re okayish, thank you.

We’ve had some lovely messages from people about Rosie and how she is still inspiring them. One of our favourites is from Annabelle, one of Rosie’s friends, who described a memory she was sharing today, and only then remembered what the day was and she wrote:

‘On a beautiful day I had this great memory and in some way or another see it as her laughing back wherever she is’. Beautiful thought, Annabelle, thank you.

Lots of lovely people have been doing ice bucket challenges for TKOE – thank you Laura, James and Alex C especially.

Strange thoughts about how Rosie would feel about sharing her death day with Donald Sinden (ok, I think, if he died this side of midnight) and Ian Paisley (less sure how that would go down).

The strangest thing of all though is the thought that it’s been 3 years now. Quite often I wonder what differences she’d see if she came home all of a sudden. Thinking that you realise what she’s missed – and understand why some people can’t change bedrooms and so on. But then it still feels so close and current as though it really was only yesterday when we last spoke.

Bit of a set of rambling thoughts on this sad sad day. Here’s another picture of her though, with Cal and Toby. She’s probably blogging :)


Jo xx


14 Aug

TKOE – or some of TKOE – are in Crete. I’m a bit ouzoed as I write this, something I’ve not drunk for 34 years following the worst hangover I have ever had. It’s nicer in moderation.

We’re doing hot weather and beaches and lots and lots of sleep. And we’ve also learned that people here are buried for three years and then their families can choose which bones to keep which is both cute and wierd. And the mountains are fabulous.

Just a quick touch base for now. The Internet is a bit dodgy so not going to push my luck. Where have you all been on holiday?

Jo xx

Two questions for a Sunday

13 Jul

Why is this blog getting so many spam comments in Greek?

How can we get someone in Greenland to read this blog?

That is all.

Jo xx

Guest blog, guest blog – thankyou @EarlMortimer and Tilly

10 Jul

Earl Mortimer College has always been a place in which both students and teachers actively try to help those outside of the College with the intention of demonstrating that the wider community and their needs are just as important as our own. Whether it be a Macmillan Coffee Morning, a Children In Need cake sale or a non-uniform “Feel Good Friday”, we always manage to dig deep and pull it out of the bag to raise vast amounts of money for amazing causes. This year alone, we have been able to raise thousands of pounds in order to help the sick, the vulnerable, the elderly, and many other groups in society, both at home and in faraway places, to get the all-important care and devotion to all of those who are not as lucky as ourselves. With the end of the academic year fast approaching, the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural group had one last, very hard decision to make before kicking off their SMSC boots for the summer… what was the last “feel good” fundraiser of the year going to be in aid of?

After careful research and deliberation, the group came across the story of local girl Rosie Kilburn, who sadly died of cancer, and decided that her organisation, The Knock on Effect, was the worthy cause they were looking for after being inspired by Rosie’s attitude and strength throughout the tribulations she had to face in her life. However, her story is not one of doom and gloom as you may be thinking. Rosie was a fighter, determined to not only combat her illness, but to help others deal with cancer and its effects in the process. She was definitely not a victim of her disease, and she wanted to get rid of the horrid taboo surrounding ‘the big C’ and rather concentrate on the bigger picture; what people could do to help.

Rosie’s mother, Jo Davidson, was our guest speaker at the 2014 Annual Academic Awards evening earlier in the year and shared precious memories of her daughter with many of our students and their families during her speech. This has given us a real insight into the kind of person Rosie was and as a result, many students possess the same admiration for Rosie as the SMSC team do already!

After losing her battle to the disease, The Knock on Effect lives on as an independent organisation in dedication to Rosie and her efforts. It continues to deliver the help others may need to come to terms with their illnesses and encourage progression, rather than ignoring the problem and locking themselves away from the outside world. The Knock on Effect acts on Rosie’s behalf to organise fundraisers to carry on her work, and EMC are proud to say that we are able to take part in fundraising for The Knock on Effect on Friday 11th July.

Students will focus on the wide theme of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural aspects of America and all lessons will be tailored according to this. Cakes will be available to purchase during breaktime and lunchtime on the Friday and there will be an all-American themed lunch in the canteen to accompany this. Furthermore, students can enjoy a round of Extreme Golf on the field, participation will be encouraged and all proceeds will go to The Knock on Effect.

Naturally, there is a US-themed clothing policy that will be enforced for one day only; EMC students have been asked to take advantage of this and dress to impress in all their American themed finery!

External competitions, such a designing a logo or art piece to be used by The Knock on Effect, will be running in conjunction with events at College. The best entries will be shortlisted, and given to Rosie’s organisation to be used on merchandise, such as T-shirts and mugs. They will also be used to auction off later in the year in a bid to raise even more money and enable The Knock on Effect to carry on the terrific work they do.

The SMSC group have high hopes for the drop down day, and are urging all students to get behind it to make Friday 11th a massive success and raise awareness for this local organisation. When I asked Miss Anderson (who is head of the SMSC group) about this day she said:

“I am really excited about this. The students will get to experience exciting lessons and learn about a different culture. It is also a fantastic opportunity for them to engage with each other and strengthen the bonds here at EMC. I am really proud that so many students have thought about why we are doing this and the impact it will have on helping others. The students really took to Rosie’s story and were inspired by her determination and humble nature. This day is about celebrating her achievements and pushing others to break the taboo surrounding illnesses such as cancer. Days like this encourage community spirit and that is something that this College is full of!”

I was really excited when Miss Anderson asked me to write this blog! I hope that by seeing what we have done here at EMC other colleges will be encouraged to fundraise more and help their local organisations help the community. BE INSPIRED, I was!

Tilly Stanik (Year 12)

Breaking news

5 Jul

Do you ever have times when everything you touch, breaks?

So far in the past 10 days:

I broke the new teapot lid by accidentally sweeping it to the floor when I picked up a piece of crumpled cling film which was secretly stuck to it

I broke a favourite mug which leapt out of the cupboard when I opened the door. It gashed my finger which bled later over the counter in the Thai takeaway, so they had to use their first aid box

I broke another mug by putting a mug next to it. That’s all I did. And it went bang and fell apart. Perhaps they’d not been getting on.

The real reason for popping over here though is to give a big shout out to King James School, Almondbury and Mrs Noble, for all their TKOE fundraising :) THANK YOU!!!

Jo xx

Reasons to be cheerful are

3 Jul

1. Paul, a good friend and TKOE supporter has just made his 40th blood donation. OMG!

2. Earl Mortimer School in Leominster is raising money and doing all sorts for TKOE. YAY!!!!

3.TKOE is five years old today. Yes, five years ago tonight many many people crowded into Newent School Hall and raised £12k through the famous art auction. So, as one part of celebrating, here’s what our Rosie had to say the day before:




Nah..Its okay – It’ll be fine yeah? Omg..


Coming to tonights preview night? 4-8pm in Newent Community Schools main hall :) Be there. And tomorrow 4pm start with the auction starting at 7:30pm.



and the day after


Well done and thank you to everyone who helped to make yesturday night so awesomeee :)

We’re in the process of sorting out the silent auction bids etcetc but mum added up the monies earlier and (when all the money has been collected) the grand total so far is:














I’ll write a more detailed post tomorrow or summin :)

:) :) :) :)

Lovely to read her words.

Thank you to everyone for those last five years. What a time we’ve all had :)

Jo xx


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