Sponsors and Partners

Support the ESFA Team in raising money for Grief Encounter

Help us support our charitable partners, Grief Encounter in their Forget-Me-Not Walk 2021

Members of the ESFA staff and Council teams will be supporting Grief Encounter’s Forget-Me-Not Walk on 21 March 2021 in order to help raise funds for the service they provide to young people and their families in England, by walking in memory of someone they have lost.

The ESFA has set up a specific JustGiving Team page in order to pool funds raised by the Association to be donated to Grief Encounter in support of their latest campaign. If you haven’t already, you can read the full details on the Forget-Me-Not Walk here.

The ESFA Team would be grateful for any contributions to their fundraising efforts on behalf of Grief Encounter and you can visit the specially created Just Giving page here:


About the Team

Andrea Chilton, CEO: Andrea will be walking in memory of ESFA Council Member, Paul Rickard, who very sadly and suddenly passed away in 2020. Andrea, with the help of her Mum’s friends (!) has already raised over £300 for Grief Encounter with her walk

Phil Harding, Chairman: Phil will be walking for at least 26 minutes along the picturesque White Cliffs of Dover.

Mike Spinks, co-optee FA Council Member: Mike will be walking in memory of a member of his teaching staff who tragically died in school in 1995. Her very sad passing left Mike and his fellow teachers having to deal with bereavement issues with their pupils, but led to the creation of a school bereavement policy, which has since been shared with schools all around theh world, helping them to be able to deal with similar tragic circumstances within their own community

Mark Hignett, ESFA Vice Chairman: Mark will be inviting 26 members of his family and friends to get involved by doing their own Forget-Me-Not walks in March, or donating to his cause.

Darren Alcock, National Competitions Manager: Darren will be walking in memory of former ESFA CEO, Malcolm Berry. A mentor to Darren, after first employing him as a member of ESFA staff 25 years ago this March.

Josh Thornton, National Competitions Secretary: Josh will be walking in memory of two family members; his brother, Paul who sadly passed away some years ago, and his Gran who Josh lost only in February 2021. Josh will be walking on the 21 March with his dog, Frazier – together they will walk either 2.6km or 26 laps of the local park…depending on how much walking Frazier wants to do!

Gavin Rusling, ESFA South West Council Member: Gavin will be walking in memory of several parents who have sadly passed away over recent years. These parents were linked to teams that Gavin has coached, or students that he has taught. Gavin and his dog, Delilah will be walking together on the 21 March. They have already been on a 5k training walk.

Owen Aiston, ESFA North Council Member: Owen will be walking in memory of his good friend, John Appleby, who sadly passed away in 2020. John was Chairman of the ESFA when Owen joined Council in 2011 and they developed a very close friendship over the coming years. Owen will be walking up in the North East of England with Bruno the dog.

Dawn Howard, ESFA Finance Officer: Dawn will be walking in memory of Don Palmer OBE on what would have been his 90th birthday. Don was a member of the ESFA Council for over 30 years and encouraged Dawn to study for her professional accounting qualifications when she first joined the Association in the late 1980s. Dawn is planning on doing 26,000 steps and scattering Forget-Me-Not seeds along the way.

Nick Loftus, Midlands Council Member: Nick is planning to walk 26,000 steps along with his wife and dog.

Sarah Kearney, PR, Marketing & Comms Exec: Sarah will be walking in memory of her best friend, Rhiannon Gauntlett, who tragically and suddenly passed away from meningitis in February 2020, leaving behind a 9 month old daughter. Sarah plans to walk 26,000 steps (split between herself, her husband, Scot and daughter, Hollie) on 21 March, walking around 8600 steps each in the local area.

Mike Coyne, Chair of Trustees

Ian Laithwaite, Commercial Director: Ian will be walking in memory of his Dad, John who sadly passed away in 2016. Not a day goes by without Ian and his family missing John’s presence and they felt it would be a fitting tribute to him to take part in an event raising money to support other people in times of grief. Ian plans to walk 2.6 miles on the 21 March

Sponsors and Partners

Help support bereaved children, young people & their families with our charity partner, Grief Encounter

The ESFA’s charitable partner, Grief Encounter, leading UK bereavement charity, provide free, professional bereavement services, including a national helpline for those experiencing grief. During the last 12 months, calls to their ‘grieftalk’ helpline have been the busiest they’ve ever experienced, so the charity has launched a brand new covid-secure initiative to raise money, supporting the incredibly important services that they provide. We’d love it if you could help them too!

The ESFA are sharing Grief Encounters’ Forget-Me-Not Walk details in the hope that our schools and young people can come together, safely, to support the work carried out by the charity, which provides a hugely essential service to youngsters across the country.

How can you help?

  1. Share these details to your teachers, parents and pupils to encourage them to get involved:
    • Registration costs £5 and each registered walker will receive a ‘forget-me-not’ walk baseball cap or dog bandana (!) plus a packet of forget-me-not seeds to plant on or after the walk.
    • You can create a forget-me-not walk JustGiving page, this can be for individuals or you could create a ‘whole school’ page, where you can combine any donations you receive.
  2. Support the campaign as a school, you could look at the key aspects of the campaign such as:
    • Health & wellbeing
    • Remembrance
    • Community Support

Could you base a lesson around grief encounter and the work they do (you can contact them directly for teaching resources) and then encourage your pupils (and staff!) to take part in the walk on Sunday 21 March?

3. Become Forget-Me-Not Walk Champions

Every person who shares the ‘forget-me-not’ walk details on their social media channels, by word of mouth or any other way, is already a champion, but could you or your school take it to the next level? Maybe you could invite your pupils to write stories, poems or songs about raising money for the cause? £26 funds a grieftalk helpline session – maybe you and your pupils could think about ways of using ‘26’ to promote the walk too?

Head over to the Grief Encounter website for full details, the registration link and to find the JustGiving page that you can also personalise for individuals or the school. There is plenty more information on their website.

If you would like to become a forget-me-not walk champion, then please email sarah.kearney@schoolsfa.com directly to register and discuss how you can help us support this fantastic cause.

If you would like to confidentially talk to the team at Grief Encounter please call freephone 0808 802 0111, they are there to listen every weekday 9am – 9pm.