I didn’t particularly set out to be a charity t-shirt business, but along the way I have encountered chance meetings or opportunities that have really made me think about how I could help. When I had a full time well paid job, I donated monthly to 8 charities. I’ve always tried to do what I can, and even though I don’t have that job security anymore, the 2000 miles tee, along with the others, is my way of showing support.
On this occasion a chance meeting happened whilst missing a talk at the RED magazine smart women’s week, and this led me to meet the lovely Katy Macmillan-Scott. As I sat in the downstairs bar of the venue sulking into my large G&T, Katy walked into the room and sat down next to me, equally frustrated that she’d also missed the talk. This got us discussing why we were there in the first place. Her story totally blew me away and got me thinking, again, that I could maybe use my brand to help fundraise.
Katy’s best friend Harriet died just 6 months after being diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer, leaving a huge hole in her life. She told me a story of how they had once been to a talk on polar explorers and how the panellists kept referring patronisingly to ‘lady adventurers’. This led to them exchanging emails of fascinating lady explorers from history and discussing the possibilities of going on adventures together themselves one day.
Unfortunately for Harriet that day didn’t come. After thinking long and hard about what she could do in her memory, Katy read Robert Macfarlane’s essay ‘The gifts of reading’, a book about friendship, the power of walking and the pleasure of gifting books, and decided she wanted to go on an adventure that Harriet would have loved. In May 2017 Katy embarked on a journey across Europe, following the epic 1933 journey of Paddy Leigh Fermor who walked from the hook of Holland to Istanbul. His journey was written up in the book ‘A Time of Gifts’. Katy’s journey covers a total of 2500 miles and Katy has already walked 500 walking from Rotterdam to Budapest. Only 2000 left to go!
I originally designed the 2000 miles T-shirt for my Christmas collection this year, as this song is one of my all time favourites. I appreciate it has absolutely nothing to do with wine, but it means something in my personal life due to big changes this year. However, after hearing this story, I decided to bring the release date forward and donate £5 from the sale of each T-shirt to Katy’s cause. I can’t imagine the pain of losing one of my best friends, they are my family.
I will be following her and virtually cheering her on all the way. Good luck Katy!