Blue Inc


Margaret, 88, still fund-raising for Ty Olwen after all these years

Three generations of a family of dedicated fundraisers – led by 88-year-old veteran charity worker Margaret Bartlett – will be donning their Onesies for a fun day to raise a mountain of cash for a Swansea hospice

The grandmother, daughter and granddaughter team will join staff at the Quadrant Shopping Centre‘s Blue Inc store for a special Onesie Day on Friday which will see them rattling their buckets, holding a raffle and generally having a good time fundraising for Ty Olwen Hospice.

Margaret Bartlett, 88, says she’s quite happy to spend the day dressed in a Onesie if it helps raise much-needed cash for a cause that has been a huge part of her life.

She said: “I became interested in palliative care more than 40 years ago before I’d really heard of hospices. We didn’t have a hospice in Swansea and the decision was taken to raise the funds needed to open Ty Olwen.

“Swansea people took up the challenge and that’s how Ty Olwen was born.  Together with my husband, Mick, who I lost three years ago, I have been involved from the start really.

“Mick and I ran a tea-bar every Thursday evening which was very popular. I lost my own mum to cancer and know how difficult it was nursing her so I wanted to do anything I could to help.

“I actually opened the Ty Olwen charity shop in the High Street. I remember putting our bungalow up as guarantee for the opening costs. When I came home and told Mick what I’d done he said he’d better buy a tent!

“My daughter, Helen and her husband, have also been involved for a long time and now my granddaughter, Kate, is helping too. We are educating Kate so she takes up the baton so to speak!”

The manager of Blue Inc, Owen Walbyoff, 22, says shop staff are keen to help raise funds for such a popular local good cause.

He said: “We are more than happy to help. Everyone in and around Swansea knows of Ty Olwen Hospice and the amazing work they do.

“In fact we have a member of staff whose mother was recently looked after by the hospice. It’s a charity we really want to help as much as we can.

“The amount of fundraising Margaret Bartlett, her daughter Helen and granddaughter, Kate, and the rest of their family have done over the years is amazing and we are really pleased to be able to help by organising a Onesie Day. I know all our staff are keen play their part.”

He added: “We have been collecting for over a week now and we will be raffling one of our cosy Onesies as well. We want to help raise as much as we can for what is a really good cause.”

Margaret added: “It’s so lovely to give something back to society but what you can’t give is health unfortunately, that’s something you just can’t buy. People do come into Ty Olwen in dreadful pain but go home pain free which is so important.

“I know of one man who went home for Christmas but just wanted to go back to Ty Olwen as they could manage his pain better and he felt more comfortable. That is so, so important.

“But Ty Olwen wouldn’t have the name it has nor be so loved by Swansea people were it not for the fantastic and incredible staff who look after their patients so well.”

She added: “I have always said I’d do anything for Ty Olwen and dressing up in a Onesie at my age will be quite fun, especially as I’ll have my daughter and granddaughter alongside me.

“It’s wonderful that Blue Inc have agreed to help us fundraise and I’m sure we will raise a good sum of money.”

Margaret’s daughter, Helen Murray, 56, has also spent a lifetime involved with the hospice and is now chair of Ty Olwen Trust.

She said: “I took over the chair two years ago and what we don’t want is people thinking you just go to Ty Olwen to die. We want people to realise you go there to live.

“One of my responsibilities is to head-up the hospice’s fundraising team. We need to raise £400,000 every year just to stand still and that’s a huge ask.

“It’s fantastic that Blue Inc at the Quadrant Shopping centre are backing us because the Onesie Day promises to be a bit of fun and also allows us to get our message across to everyone.”

Helen, who works as an admissions officer at Olchfa Comprehensive School, Swansea, added: “It isn’t just about fundraising, I’ll be using the day to talk to people about the work of Ty Olwen and raise awareness of the hospice.

“I’m not sure what I let myself in for dressing in a Onesie. Mum, who is 88, agreed to do it and after my daughter Kate joined in and I thought I’d volunteer too. Three generations together will be good fun.”

Kate Murray, 23, says every since she was a little girl she remembers going to Ty Olwen to help out. She said: “I used to go with my grandmother and granddad on a Thursday when they ran the tea-bar. Being there was sort of natural in a way.

“When grandma said she’d wear a Onesie I agreed to join her and then of course mum gave it a go too. It will be quite unique in a way, having three generations together.”

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