Our Team spoke to the Ickenham & District Society of Model Engineers about why they chose to support Michael Sobell House with the money raised from their model railway and stall.
The Ickenham & District Society of Model Engineers has been supporters of Michael Sobell House for a number of years. In November 2023, they presented one of our Community Fundraisers with a check for £1250 and discussed why they chose to support their local hospice.
Mel, the President of the Society, explained, “We’ve been supporting the charity for some years now. When I became the President, we had a chat about which charity we wanted to support going forward and I suggested Michael Sobell House. There was a couple of reasons behind this, firstly about thirty years ago I was the local policeman in the area, so I was very aware of the place and what it does. And secondly, we had a long standing member who stayed there in the last few weeks of his time and he was just singing the praises of all the staff.
“So, we thought, yes that’s who we will support! I’ve seen your site, and the families are so grateful, you know they’re treated with real care and respect. There’s a calmness about the place. Even though it’s been a long time since I’ve been in the House it’s what I remember most about it. It’s just such a worthwhile place.”
As well as their amazing model railway and trains, the Society also has a stall onsite. Val, who runs the stall, spoke about her experience with supporting our Hospice and the evolution of the stall, “We chose Michael Sobell House because one of our chaps had just died in there and then the following year my friend from school died there as well, so we had two connections. So, I wanted to do this stall for you. I had one of your leaflets a couple of years ago when they had a wedding there and that was lovely to read about those things you do.
“When I first started volunteering on the stall all they were selling were soft toys. They would sell them for a pound and I thought, that’s not going to raise us a lot of money! So, I wondered if I could sell something else as well. I started introducing children’s books, because people are always looking for them and I spread out onto another table. Then I thought what if I did some knitting, so I started doing some baby clothes because everyone likes those. And it sort of snowballed from there. Now they call it Vals emporium. When we bought a gazebo I thought, I might as well fill it up!
“I always tell everyone that we’re supporting Michael Sobell House and the amount of people who say oh we had someone close to us stay there. One week we had a woman and her child come along and I told her what charity we support and she said, ‘Oh I know Michael Sobell, my husband died in there last week’. And I thought I’m glad that I’m raising money for Michael Sobell House because that’s what they do, they help people and families like that.”
You can join The Ickenham & District Society of Model Engineers, take a ride on their model trains, and visit Val’s stall on the first Saturday of every month, starting back up from April 2024.