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Following in my father's footsteps

Adam on the Golf CourseThe annual Steve Bennett Memorial Golf Tournament, in aid of Brandon Trust’s Dream Fund, took place on Friday, 2 October, raising nearly £2,000. Steve is my father and once again, my brother Adam and I, were absolutely delighted to make the trip down from the north west to take part in such a special day.

2 October marks a big date for our family - it’s the date that Dad passed away, eleven years ago. Sometimes it feels like yesterday, sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago, but we are so delighted that Dad left a legacy with Brandon Trust.

His passions were family, work and golf. For those who worked at Brandon Trust when he was at the helm, you'll remember him as a big character, working tirelessly to empower and champion the people you support.

So, my brother and I had very different experiences on Friday. Whilst Adam took to the fairway (once again winning the tournament), I went on a whirlwind tour of some Brandon services with Head of Fundraising, Penny Reeves. First stop was Elm Tree Farm, and what a delight that was. I know that Dad had been part of setting up this initiative and you could tell that, quite simply, it was a happy place. Everyone was going about their tasks and jobs with a level of contentment. From working in Splinters making kindling to sell, through to looking after Chip the new foal, and then selling some of the homegrown vegetables; Elm Tree Farm is a hive of activity!

Michelle Visits Fired UpIt was then onto Fired Up, where I met a lovely group who were painting ceramic tiles. Fired Up recently moved into smaller premises and you could tell that the change had been a little unsettling. But I was in awe of the collaborative approach that the staff and people supported, took to managing this change. Open discussions, warmth, and genuine love and caring.

Then we visited a residential group of women who had previously lived in abusive circumstances. It was such a positive place to visit. All the ladies sat around together watching Emmerdale. The patio doors were wide open, leading into a lovely big garden with a new summerhouse. We just sat, had a natter and lots of hugs. It was very special indeed.

Well done to everyone that supported the golf day, and well done to the Fundraising team for doing such a fantastic job. The new corporate relationships formed are invaluable and so important to Brandon Trust; I know that Dad would be so proud!

We enjoyed the day so much that both Adam and I are already looking forward to the 2016 event.

Michelle Payne

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