Zoe Marley

I am privileged and proud to be a member of The Malcolm Whales Foundation – an
incredible charity, doing incredible things.

I first came across the charity when I was a student at Ely College, I was in year 10 and my GCSE PE teacher Mr Patman encouraged me to sign up for a trip called The Dorset Walk. Along with my friends, we were excited to be a part of what was then, a fairly new event (even when Mr Whales was attempting to be his annoying self and put me in the transit van when the minibus lists were decided). It’s safe to say, 2012 is going to be one of the years that we never forget, the constant rain when putting up the tents, when walking, and when taking down the tents, made for an interesting first experience of the walk.

2012 was the same year my peers and I had the privilege of joining some of the trustees from the charity in taking iPads to the Addenbrookes Children Cancer Ward, which had been bought by the charity. This was the first realisation/experience that I had with cancer, and it was a real eye opener, it made me realise why it was so important to continue to raise money for The Malcolm Whales Foundation, to allow more things like this to happen. It also made me realise how being a part of the charity was special, and different to any larger charity, as the focus is on local people and you can directly see and be involved in, where the money is going.
I joined a number of the walks as a student, then as an ex-student, and now I attend as a PE Teacher myself. This is special, as I am now that teacher encouraging my students to attend the walk, just how I first got involved. Not only is the walk special, to witness teenagers push themselves out of their comfort zone and raise an amazing amount of money for people of the same age, but all of the other events The Malcolm Whales Foundation run are too. Namely the 10 Hours of Sport which is held within schools, and again, this gives young people the chance to raise money for people who have been affected by cancer.

I remember when I had first signed up for the Dorset Walk, I attended the information evening with my dad, who was sat there excitedly wishing he could come with us. He saw me complete three Dorset Walks, before sadly, he was diagnosed with cancer himself. Dad was the fittest person I knew, constantly running, cycling, swimming, going to circuit training and spinning as well as completing different physical challenges such as climbing mountains. When he lost his battle in 2016, this gave me, and my family, the drive to continue to raise as much money as possible in his memory, and I had no doubt about the charity I was going to focus this on. The Richard Marley Memorial Netball Tournament has been happening now for 6 years and it has grown each year, starting from a small 4 teams round robin, to now 19 teams, full day, tournament. This means more than I could ever express, that my dad’s name is associated with Damien’s dad’s name, a man that really inspires me.

I am excited to be involved in the continued growth of the charity, and I can’t wait to see what is in store for the future.

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