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24 July 2017

PDR ECH 230717TomBassettJPGA 30-year-old Cardiff man was killed in a hit and run crash in Dubai.

The family of the victim, Tom Bassett, have now set up a charity to help families whose loved ones have died abroad.

Mr Bassett was visiting the Middle Eastern city with friends in May this year when he was killed.

Tom’s parents Steve and Linda have decided to speak about the horrendous ordeal they went through in order to promote their repatriation charity after it cost them £6,600 to bring Tom back home.

While going through every mother and father’s worst nightmare, the couple faced an incredibly difficult challenge to bring their son home.

They were told that repatriation costs would run into the thousands and they faced problems from their travel insurance company.

Steve said: “You can’t rely on your travel insurance. You think you’d be secure while you’re away but they’re still being awkward now.

Linda said: “We were in a position where we could afford to bring him home. We had no help from the travel insurance.

“They wanted an English language death certificate and we were in an Arabic country so we couldn’t get that. We had to pay ourselves to bring him home.

We recognised an opportunity to help people in similar circumstances so we thought why don’t we start a service for people who are in need.”

The family have now started a not for profit company called REST Repatriation Service Trust which they are hoping to make an official charity.

"We want to help people"

After the experience they went through, they want to help other people who find themselves in the unfortunate position they found themselves in, to build on Tom’s legacy.

Steve said: “Having been through it we can give people advice and I am sure we will gain more knowledge as the charity runs.

“We want to help people. It’s a horrendous situation. You can’t see the wood from the trees so if you can have someone who has been there and can talk to you, I am sure it’s going to help.

“We can reassure people because they will think, like us, their world has come to an end, we’re not over that yet or ever will be, but we can talk about it now. In the early part of May, it would have been impossible.

“Our mission is to help people. Unfortunately some day someone is going to find themselves in our position and we will help them financially and with advice and comfort.”

Linda said: “We were fortunate that the hotel we stayed in was a quality hotel and the staff were amazing. You think of the people who haven’t got that support behind them, that’s why we’re trying to help in Tom’s name.”

A number of fundraising events have been planned for the charity in memory of Tom, including a football match on July 29 between his friends in Cardiff and his colleagues in Chester, where he worked four days of the week.

Speaking about his son, Steve said: “In the early days we couldn’t be left on our own, the house was full all the time. They came from everywhere, everybody came down here to be with us and Tom’s mates have been incredible.”

Linda added: “Tom was fit and into watching rugby and training, he was an incredible trainer. He was also into his music, festivals and travelling. He travelled the world.

"He was such a great person"

“He was always on the go, he had probably been away three or four times this year before all this happened.”

During Tom’s celebration day, Steve said guests were amazed to hear about the places he had travelled including America, Australia, New Zealand, Zanzibar and Hong Kong.

“Someone said on the day that even though Tom was five foot seven when you walked into a room with him he would make you feel 10 feet tall. He was such a great person.”

The football match is taking place at the Cardiff International Sports Campus, in Lawrenny Avenue, Cardiff, on Saturday, July 29, between 1pm-3pm.

A website is being set up for the REST charity where donations can be made in future.



14 July 2017

British brand Made By Riley proves that fashion really can make a difference, meaning shopping with a clear conscience is a reality

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We all have the power to make positive change, whether in big or small ways, and small actions can make big difference. That’s the governing ethos for Riley Uggla and Rayna Barasch, the partners behind ethical fashion brand Made by Riley.  

Riley says: “The two of us share a strong sense of responsibility to give back and we wanted to be involved in something that helped people to do that through their everyday actions. People will always buy clothes – why not buy clothes that contribute to important causes?

Made by Riley began life in 2015, founded by entrepreneur Riley after she had studied fashion at Istituto Marangoni. Devised as a loungewear brand that’s ‘good for the soul’, it combines Riley’s love of easy, understated fashion with her philanthropic drive and establishes a clothing collection with a cause.

It was the powerful ethos of giving back that inspired the seasoned business consultant Rayna Barasch. After a serendipitous encounter in early 2016, Rayna joined Made by Riley as Riley's business partner. Having worked at Diane Von Furstenberg and Ralph Lauren before establishing her own successful fashion consultancy in 2012,  Rayna was driven to use her wealth of experience and knowledge of the industry to build a brand that encouraged awareness and raised social consciousness.

Rayna says: “We want to change the way that people think about giving back. It’s not just about donating profits – we see Made by Riley as a platform for people to align their actions with their values and to encourage others to do the same.”

Made by Riley collaborates with different charities on its ‘Gives Back’ pieces, donating a percentage of all profits back to the non-profits. Partnerships so far include the NSPCC, Human Rights Watch, Trekstock, Maggie’s Cancer Trust and Space for Giants. 

In each case the key to the clothing is subtlety - T-shirts and jumpers aren’t emblazoned with the charity logos or slogans, rather they feature a positive quote or the sketch of an elephant’s face. The brand embodies effortless, chic off-duty style, combining soft fabrics, neutral palettes and classic silhouettes, and has won celebrity fans including Fearne Cotton and Nicole Scherzinger.

It’s loungewear that looks great while helping to do something great by supporting a non-profit. And this is no gimmick - the charities partnerships last a lifetime rather than just one season.

february 7Made by Riley also partners with charities to support additional fundraising efforts, whether by supporting existing events or hosting unique events that help a charity to reach a greater audience. Coming up soon is an event for TrekStock which sees them join forces with Another Space to do a big TrekCycle fundraiser. 

Recently Made by Riley also supported March for Giants, a global campaign to raise awareness of the poaching crisis run by their charity partner Space for Giants. A digital elephant branded with the Made by Riley logo paraded around the world on some of the biggest digital advertising billboards to highlight the crisis currently facing elephants. A planned T-shirt collaboration is due to launch later this year. 

Embracing the idea that we all have the power to make an impact, Made by Riley was founded to help us do just that, encouraging us to take an active role in improving our immediate and wider communities.

Prices range from £40 – £110. For more information visit www.madebyriley.co.uk or follow @madebyriley on Twitter


14 July 2017

Tom Harrison raised nearly £25,000 for charity - at the expense of his knees


A man dressed in a gorilla costume has completed the London marathon in six days, crawling round the 26-mile course and raising £23,900 for the Gorilla Organisation.

Tom Harrison, 41, made it across the finish line on Saturday morning, having set out at 10.34am the previous Sunday. He was accompanied by his young sons, dressed in gorilla costumes.

He told the Metro that the money he raised will be used to increase self-sufficiency in communities near gorilla habitats, reducing their reliance on the bushmeat trade, and fund ranger services in areas affected by poaching and excess hunting. 

The man dubbed "Mr Gorilla" reportedly averaged about 4.5 miles per day, crawling for around 12 hours before collapsing into beds belonging to friends across the capital. 

With only four crawling training sessions beforehand, the policeman found the iconic course tough going. He was forced to take a rest every 100 to 200 metres, and to switch between his hands and knees and a more upright position on his hands and feet to stop his knees from blistering.

Initially, he wore knee pads, but discarded these after the first day, and later posted a picture to Twitter of his knees rubbed raw against the asphalt.

While half way round the course, he told the Metro: "I'm going good, I've just been having a gorilla power nap. Just been napping on some bark chippings under an old tree, which is the perfect gorilla nesting habitat really."

"It's hard work today. All of my muscles are aching now so I've probably had a few more stops than previous days, but I'm still going forward so that's what matters.

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"It's all about raising the profile of the Gorilla Organisation and raising money. I don't really matter that much, I'm just a conduit to the gorillas in Africa."

Other runners completed the marathon dressed as a rhino, a camel, a toilet roll, and a bishop. One competitor carried a fridge, another carried a cross and ran barefoot, and a third played the mandolin all the way round the course. 

The total raised for 2017 isn't in yet, but in 2016 runners raised £59.4 million, setting a new world record for an annual single day charity fundraising event for the tenth successive year.


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