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November 2014: Cold Days and Kind Hearts

We have been very much out and about during November as we prepared for this year’s World Aids Day. The event at The Foundling Museum was a very lovely evening. A warm gathering of Food Chain friends old and new, and a great performance from Jay Rayner. Our team of volunteers were outstanding, serving food and wine throughout the evening with great professionalism. We put on a very fine evening’s entertainment and raised a splendid £12,000.

And for World Aids Day itself we had countless people out in the cold for us – running and walking in Victoria Park (I was pleased to complete my 5k in one piece!), selling red ribbons, singing and collecting for us in Soho and in Borough Market, baking and eating cakes for us at Regent’s Place and of course, bidding for fantastic prizes at this year’s Ku Bar annual auction, which was once again a tremendous success (total raised to be announced soon). I think this has been one of our busiest year’s ever. Well done all round!

I will never cease to be impressed and inspired by the kindness and generosity our many supporters show us all year round, and especially in these cold winter days when so many take to the streets to raise both awareness and funds in support of our work. We are privileged in the UK to be able to provide the best possible treatment for people living with HIV but we must never forget that more can be done and indeed that the pandemic can, and hopefully one day, will be eradicated. I look forward to the day that The Food Chain is no longer needed.

This year, I am particularly thinking of a friend who died 20 years ago. I worked with Derek at London Lighthouse, and on a recent visit to view the Aids Memorial Quilt panels that are stored there, I was kindly invited to bring his memorial panel back to Acorn House, where it now hangs on The Food Chain office wall. It is the work of many hands that was lovingly created at a time of great sadness. Today, the panel brings colour and warmth to our small meeting area. I’m not quite sure what Derek would make of hanging about in our office – he was a refreshingly plain speaking Scot who was always on the move but I’d like to think that he wouldn’t mind too much. Not if the panel helps us all remember how important it is to continue the fight against HIV.

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