Help Harry Help Others lit up Birmingham to mark 10 remarkable years of fund-raising and community care. We talk to Georgie Moseley about the wonderful charity which remembers her son in everything it does.
Bittersweet is how Georgie Moseley describes the 10th anniversary of Help Harry Help Others. The charity was launched by Georgie as a legacy to her son Harry who captured the hearts of the nation when he raised more than £750,000 for cancer research in the last two years of his life, before passing away on 8 October 2011, aged only 11-years-old.
In the 10 years since it became an official charity, Help Harry Help Others (HHHO) has lived up to Georgie’s promise to celebrate the life of her remarkable son by helping more than 1,000 families and giving over £2.6million in his name.
The charity runs Respite Renovations, its own ‘DIY SOS’ style makeover scheme, which to date has renovated four houses as well as the day-to-day running of its Drop In Cancer Support Centre opened in Birmingham in 2015. The centre which bridges the gap between hospital and hospice sees more than 150 people walk through the door every week to get emotional and practical support from a range of 20 services to support families in every aspect outside of treatment – from mental wellbeing to finances and housing.
LIGHT IN THE DARK
The charity marked its anniversary with a special ‘light in the dark’ campaign, producing limited edition glow-in-the-dark bracelets with 10 gold beads representing each year and asking famous faces and members of the public to wear and share the bracelets. Some of the city’s landmarks were also lit up to raise awareness, including the Bullring Bull, which was illuminated with specially made light up HHHO bracelets. The Library of Birmingham, Aston Villa Football Club, New Street’s line of trees and other businesses and organisations in the city, also shone their lights to support the charity.
George said: “The anniversary is really a bittersweet moment. It’s hard because we see Harry in everything we do, but it’s also wonderful to know all the people we have helped. It’s not very often you get the chance to look back and reflect.
“During our own journey with Harry we saw the lack of support there was when we needed advice and support. Your life literally changes completely. Apart from all the stress of the hospital appointments and treatments and juggling those with your emotions, there’s the realisation that you need to become a full-time carer and what about your job and how do you pay for your home? When we lost Harry, we lost everything.”
Georgie added:” Today there are three million people in the UK living with cancer and this is only predicted to rise substantially in the coming years. Research is important, but what are we doing as a community to help? The NHS is there but it is a health specialist and doesn’t offer the vital support beyond treatment that is needed.”
Since Georgie launched Help Harry Help Others her whole focus has been structured around where she knew more support was needed for families. The charity has access to experts offering advice and skills from mental and emotional support to financial, debt and benefit advice and even practical help such as bra fitting for those dealing with breast cancer.
Remarkably, the charity operates on a staff of just four employees. It’s a super-lean team with no room for the likes of an events or marketing team. “That’d be me!” says Georgie. “But of course we have access to lots of service providers who come in and charge us for the day and then will give us another day for free.”
More than £200,000 needs to be raised annually to keep HHHO going and unsurprisingly with the pandemic lockdowns and economic crisis that’s proving tougher than ever. “It’s very challenging,” said Georgie, “and that’s why it is so important to do all we can to keep awareness of what we do. We need to work harder, cleverer and continue to be innovative.”
The charity has a number of high-profile supporters, including TV presenter Ben Shepherd, who named Harry as one of his heroes in his Humble Heroes book which was published in September.
“There was no one quite like Harry and even now I feel so lucky to have spent even a short amount of time with such a unique and wonderfully inspiring young boy,” said Ben. “I’m so proud to be flying the HHHO flag in his name, knowing the difference this is making to people’s lives, and keeping his legacy alive is as important now as it ever was.” Oliver and James Phelps, best known as the Weasley twins in Harry Potter, are also ambassadors for HHHO, and said: “The level of support and services such a small team produces is incredible.”
Georgie, who had the honour of being one of the baton bearers for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, added: “Reaching our 10th anniversary, I am so very proud of Harry’s charity and everything his legacy has achieved. It has been an unbelievable journey so far. We’ve created a wonderful community and while we have faced some very challenging times, there’s never a dull moment at HHHO – which is exactly how Harry would have wanted it.”
10 ANNIVERSARY FACTS
Georgie and the team at Help Harry Help Others have achieved the following in the past 10 years:
- Launched Birmingham’s first Drop In Cancer Support Centre in 2015.
- Provided £240,000 to fund vital research via the charity’s HelpCURE fund.
- Donated £400,000 to families suffering financial hardship via the HHHO HelpCOPE fund.
- Given nearly £740,000 via the HelpCARE fund, including donations to other charities.
- Helped more than 1,000 families via the Drop In Cancer centre.
- Reached its £1million of giving in 2019, meaning over £2.6million has been given to date in Harry’s name.
- Completed a 22-hour roller skating challenge to mark Harry’s 22nd birthday.
- Completed the Three Peaks Challenge, twice in 10 days, and kayaked from London to Birmingham.
- Received a Harry Honoured Star on Broad Street.
- Broke the world record for world’s longest chain of beads (31,234,48 ft).