Good news from Helen Rollason Cancer Charity
In line with Government guidelines, Helen Rollason Cancer Charity Support Centres and Charity Shops closed on the 23rd March.
Knowing how important our services are to our clients meant we have had to diversify the support we could provide at this time and have implemented welfare calls, by telephone, to clients and volunteers.

We are very proud to say that to date our therapists have had 923 conversations and left 389 messages with clients. These have been very well received; listening to clients who have had medical treatment cancelled or delayed, sign posting people to the range of online and virtual support groups such as mindfulness and yoga that we have set up or having a general chat has been hugely beneficial. We have also been providing emergency and crisis counselling sessions by telephone.
As is the case for so many charities, the pandemic has impacted our budgeted income. Our annual cycle event Ride for Helen should have taken place in May at Crix in the village but this has been rescheduled to Sunday 20th September 2020. We may have to restrict numbers and change some processes but we are confident this will take place. Online registration is available at
Our eBay shop has reopened and sales have picked up quickly. Have a browse; we guarantee that social distancing is not an issue in this shop! We stock something for everybody – children’s clothing to fishing equipment, porcelain figures to designer shoes and clothing. I know that many people used some of lockdown to have a sort out and tidy cupboards and sheds. If you have anything you think we could sell on eBay then please let us know.
So many of the fabulous events hosted by supporters, businesses and in the community have been cancelled. Therefore to try and recoup some of the deficit in the income we have launched our Summer Online Raffle! Tickets are £5 each with an opportunity to win some fabulous prizes. I appreciate that for some people £5 is a big ask but for anybody who does buy a ticket we can assure you that the money will be spent wisely to enable quality of life while living with cancer.
We are very grateful to have been supported by Tevva Motors Limited in Chelmsford, and employee Shaun Baxter for the donation of 79 face shields that will be used by staff and volunteers when our Cancer Support Centres reopen. Shaun is on furlough leave but has used his time to make the shields with materials provided by the company.
We are going to be reopening our charity shops, in phases, in the next few weeks but before we do we have a shopping list of support equipment we will need;
- 20 boxes of latex gloves
- 20 packets of antibacterial wipes
- 4 blue roll holders and blue roll
- 3 paper towel holders and paper towels
We are also looking for some additional storage space in the village of Hatfield Peverel to store the donations we have been receiving. If anyone has an unused garage, large shed, warehouse or similar in the local area that we could borrow for the next 3 or 4 months then please do get in touch.
Do you have any of the above that you would be happy to donate and help us keep our costs down? If so please contact our CEO Kate Alden on 07730 209442 or email

St. Andrew's Church, Earls Colne, Lunchtime Recitals 2020
    2020 sees our Lunchtime Recitals entering their fifth year and we have a very exciting programme to offer.
We will see the return of the ever popular Lizzie Gutteridge and Aurora Voices who also sang for us just before Christmas. We will be welcoming some new performers too. Kim Peek a ballad singer, the Sokolowski Trio and Malcolm Ball playing the Ondes Marenot.
Thursday 13th August - Sokolowski Trio
Thursday 10th September - Malcolm Ball playing Ondes Martenot accompanied by Peter Humphrey on piano.
Recitals are free (retiring collection) and commence at 1pm. Refreshments available from 12.30pm
I don't believe it. Mum just called me "Fatso" as she harnessed me up for a walk! She says we dogs have taken lockdown to the "nth degree", whatever that means, and just because I'm not meeting my public doesn't mean I shouldn't keep trim.
Everyone wants life to go back to normal but humans have proved themselves adept at coping with change. Sharon, a seamstress in "real" life, sews washable, pleated face masks in triple layer dense cotton. Jayne knits "Rainbow of Hope" car hangings and has a new teddy bear line. Mandy sells donated items on Facebook. Jeanette arranged a pop-up stall to sell plants and run her famous Tombola. By the way, Jayne is still taking orders for masks on 07720 079370.
All Rescues are braced for a possible influx as new pet owners return to work and recently acquired animals start suffering with separation anxiety if unused to being left alone. Please get in touch if you are having difficulties with your pets, contact details below but be patient if our response time is slow due to staff shortages
Unfortunately we cannot accept any fresh stock as our big fundraising events are cancelled until next year. All efforts are concentrated on animal welfare leaving insufficient people to sort, or storage space to hold, goods. As you can see in the photo, I help by checking our stock of masks and rainbows. I don't know what SESAW would do without me, Kenny (the Boss) Chihuahua!
Suffolk & Essex Small Animal Welfare, Reg. Charity No.1124029, Stoke Road, Leavenheath, CO6 4PP. Tel: 01787 210888, email:

A poignant letter from Colchester Zoo's Managing Director to all friends and supporters
Solar Society Group
      The Solar Society do not envisage starting their meetings again until January 2021 at the earliest. A further update will be given in December.
  Dear Supporter and friend,
Following the long lasting COVID experience it is a relief to see the heart of the zoo pumping again.
We are open, trading again and all seems to be going, at the moment, in the right direction.

There are still huge financial concerns over the future of zoos because of the past few months events and Colchester Zoo is in the mix. We now have to trade with much reduced visitor numbers to comply with the current social distancing protocols.
This has reduced our ability to enjoy our normally healthy July numbers, so we have to carefully ensure we strike a balance between allowing the number of paying visitors and the demands of Gold Passholders.
Gold Passholders have not been mistreated, this last 2 weeks alone we have welcomed around 10,000 members which is the highest number in this period, ever.
If you feel we have not delivered the right service to you I can assure you this is a challenge all attractions have faced but what I do know is we have fared extremely well against others when it comes to the level and ability to cope with the huge demand.
We always review carefully and are not worried to make changes or adjust not only number and time slots but to also extend opening hours to maximise the number whilst not forgetting our responsibility to maintain social distancing measures.
We have invested in new software to give us some solutions particularly a virtual queuing system to ensure we can manage the huge demand we have for tickets. I am also certain some of you will report some negativity but I weigh up the overall situation and feel we continue to respond and have done the very best we can do within the limitations imposed on us.
One weakness is that we have not been able to communicate with all of our Gold Passholders due to the lack of Email addresses submitted. This is something we are looking at as we feel there is much to gain. Please be aware we need Gold Passholder Email addresses so we can update you with information relating to your Zoo Pass. We will not add you to our general mailing list unless you would like to be added.
If you are one of those Gold Passholders who felt my poetic letter was unjust, I can assure you, following hundreds of cancellations after this letter was sent, we have been able to accommodate many of you given the new spaces available.
Since then the flow has improved but even now some people are still trying to cancel unwanted bookings.
I know other zoos are facing the same issues and I am certain you have heard of the 'No Shows' which are also affecting many restaurants.
The staff have performed absolutely amazingly and given the zoo everything they could, I am very proud of them.
I agree and know you can always do better and we continuously review our performance trying to identify and correct our weak points.
We are running towards August, usually the month where financially we benefit the most with our highest attendance.
This will be the crunch.
Normally we would enjoy 130,000 paying visitors plus Gold Passholder visits. This year we only expect 60,000 therefore our income is going to be really affected making our survival target this winter extremely tough.
Not only do we lose income at the entrance but all secondary spending such as catering or retail will suffer.
Therefore, I am going to beg you and hope you will visit this winter too as this will be crucial to our survival plan.
Halloween as we knew it will cease but will be reviewed to a lower scale without compromising social distancing, however even if low key, it will be a new experience for you to enjoy and will bring us much needed revenue. We expect Christmas to be reviewed too.
I need to reiterate, we have done the very best to be efficient, to accommodate as many as we can but the priority of social distancing has had a real effect on our ability.
Now the best way you can help is by visiting, to purchase a Gold Pass, visit a catering unit and buy a lovely present from our gift shop. Make a donation if you can. This is how you can help us in these unprecedented times.
This is also the time for us as an organisation and as individual people, to recognise how much you good people out there have been instrumental in keeping us going and perhaps even saved us from disappearing. We have, like many others, faced so many challenges, dilemmas, tough decisions and I am glad we have managed to save our sanity and are here trying to deal with unprecedented challenges to please everyone.
I have the faith we will get through, survive and flourish. You learn a lot during tough times including who you are, I know I will come out of this a better and stronger man.
Everyone connected with the zoo and you good people have made this possible and at the sunset of my working career I am so grateful.
There was a period of time when I thought this sunset would lead to the darkness of failure and whilst early 2021 is when we will know where we stand, I feel more confident now.
Thank you for your patience, thank you for support, it has been hard and demanding for us but we know NHS people are the real heroes, we only did our job.
Thank you again.
Best wishes,
Dr DA Tropeano
Managing Zoo Director

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