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Abseiling the Blade in Reading for Thames Hospice Care

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Published: 17 Dec 2012      

I’d like to introduce a member of our Topping Forty team. Someone  you might call, mmm…how do I put this, the ‘why not’ character of the Topping Forty team.

When a chance came up to help a local charity by abseiling down The Blade in Reading, Berkshire, all eyes in the office for some reason fell on Kes Williams. She agreed to do it saying, “ok why not? Let’s give it a go as it’s for charity,” then a silly grin appeared at the realisation of her quick reply.

For her it is a chance to do one of the things she has in her bucket list, to “do something inspiring for charity”. I think you could class it as inspiring, but I will let you be the judge of that, when you read a little bit about her and why she put it on her bucket list.

Growing up, she was always taught by her stepfather that there is no such thing as a problem, there is always a solution. He was very correct, but we won’t tell him she said that as she would never live it down. For Kes, back in 2000, these words echoed true for her. That year, she had a very bad fall and damaged her neck and back. The doctors decided that they were not sure what Kes would be able to do again, from simple day to day activities with her daughter (who was a year old at the time), let alone go back to using a gym and abseiling down a very high building in the heart of Reading.

But those immortal words rang through her head, “no such thing as a problem, only a solution”. Being a stubborn person at times, she was not about to let this beat her. Over the years her daughter has been a rock, not really knowing, bless her, that she was in a way Kes’ carer. She just thought that lots of things like sorting the washing colours was a game, even when she tried to get into the washing machine itself too!

In 2004, Kes moved back to the south of England to be closer to her family and build a life for herself and her daughter. She began to retrain with graphicforce.co.uk to be a graphic designer, where she knew after a few months, she had found a job that she really liked and to this day, still enjoys working with the team. Kes was also getting stronger and even though the doctors told her that she had developed arthritis through her injury, that this really was not going to stop her. This served to make her more determined than ever.

Through a networking event she met the other team members of what today has become toppingforty.com, then after a year of working with each other on projects, they sat chatting over a coffee and Topping Forty turned from a chat about social networking sites to ‘let’s create our own’. The ‘what, when, why and how’, came into the conversation and after a bit, yep those words came out again, “there’s no such thing as a problem, there’s only a solution”, so lots of solutions were found!

Kes finally talked the doctors into letting her go on a program called ‘Path Finders’ which is a program developed by the government to help the sick or injured, get fit and healthy again. It assists patients to get financial assistance, at their local council’s gym. There is a personal training plan, created by the gym staff and lots of help and encouragement.

Then one day, a call came into the office from Thames Hospice Care, “we need your help! We need to raise some money”. And because there is never a problem, only a solution, we came up with a plan!

Thames Hospicecare (THc) has two hospices, one in Windsor and the other in Ascot. THc offers support to families living in East Berkshire and South Bucks, who are dealing with life changing illnesses. All services are provided without charge because of the generosity of individuals who believe in their work and donate funds to enable them to provide great care and excellent services.

Working in partnership with local companies, Thames Hospicecare offers a range of opportunities that will make a real difference to THc and also of benefit to companies. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) follows the concept that companies have obligations to the wider community and that good corporate citizenship extends further than simply following the law. Luckily for THc, many local companies, like Topping Forty, believe in this too and show their support for THc in a variety of ways.

Topping Forty’s way of helping this great cause, is for Kes to dangle from a wire off the edge of The Blade in Reading in March 2013. If you feel that Kes IS inspiring, why not show your support by visiting the Topping Forty Just Giving Page.

Follow Kes’ training programme and diet plan.