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Charity kitchen takeover at the Arora

Crawley Town Mayor Cllr Brian Quinn and his wife Sue were among the guests at Friday night’s charity dinner at the hotel in aid of Springboard.

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Frank and his wife Sandra with Crawley Town Mayor and Mayoress Cllr Brian and Sue Quinn, and Arora Hotel Operations Manager Laura Walker

Well-known chef Frank Coughlan took over the kitchens at the Arora Hotel in Crawley to prepare a four-course banquet in aid of Springboard, the hospitality sector’s charity which helps to nurture young unemployed into work.

Crawley Town Mayor Cllr Brian Quinn and his wife Sue were among the guests at Friday night’s charity dinner at the hotel to help Frank, from Horley, raise money and to wish him `bon voyage’ as he sets off this week to join the Springboard annual trek to Vietnam. The chef has already raised around £21,000 for the charity. When he is out in Vietnam, Frank will be helping to rebuild a school in the poor province of Ham Yen.

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Back in the UK, the Springboard charity will use this money to support 70 people who face hardship and difficulties, giving them a chance to join one of its life-changing programmes.

Frank said:

“My target was £3,500, but I managed to smash that with thanks to all my friends and supporters within the hospitality sector.

“Friday’s dinner at the Arora Hotel was an amazing finale to what has been quite a journey already. A huge thank you to the Arora and its executive head chef Tony Staples and his team for letting me take over their kitchens and helping to make the night such a success.”

Frank Coughlan prepares the starter

Frank is currently the executive head chef of BaxterStorey, overseeing the BA Lounge contract throughout the UK, but has been head chef at an impressive list of high profile venues in his 30-plus year career, including Wembley Stadium, Arsenal and Chelsea Football clubs and the All England Lawn Tennis Club, and has more than 40 catering awards to his name.

He set himself the Springboard challenge after losing 10 stone in weight, which he said “made me feel 10 years younger”.

Crawley Town Mayor Cllr Quinn told guests at the dinner:

“It is a pleasure to return to the Arora and experience its excellent hospitality once again, and to be here to support Frank – it is so great to see a former pupil of St Wilfrid’s (Crawley secondary school) doing so well.”

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Charity

Alison’s new look after charity shave

After having her head shaved on Sunday (10 June), one Crawley woman is sporting a fresh look.

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A woman from Crawley has a new look after she donated all of her hair to the Little Princess Trust.

Alison Slade has raised just under £2,500. The money she raised will go to The Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre.

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The Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre is a local cancer support centre located by Crawley Hospital. They are the only centre in the area, serve Sussex and Surrey and are entirely run by volunteers. They offer counselling, complimentary therapies, support, advice and act as a key point of contact for cancer patients, their families, carers and children.

Alison decided to raise the money for the Crawley based support centre after her husband Graham was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2015.

Alison was required to have her hair washed 24 hours before the cut

Alison said:

“Our world changed.

“There’s nothing worse than watching someone you love suffering and not being able to do anything about it.

“These people kept me sane and supported me. I could turn up hating the world or be on my knees ready to give up. These people never judged me, patronized me or rolled their eyes. Always a warm welcome, the obligatory kettle went on and I’d leave feeling stronger.”

Alison’s ponytails – ready to donate to the Little Princess Trust.

Now, with a fresh look, Alison says:

“My head shave had a slight twist at the end. After the initial shave I went shaving foam and razor bald.”

Alison, sporting the Olive Tree logo, mid-cut

“I’m just overwhelmed by the support and generosity of everyone.

“Hardest thing is how strangers perceive me. A small child in a shop made the queue aware that I was bald. To which the mum replied ‘shhhh she’s a poorly lady’. Obviously I put her right.” 

Alison had her hair cut at Rock Paper Scissors in Ifield Green on Sunday (10 June) by Paul Newell, the co-owner.

You can still show Alison your support and donate via her JustGiving page.

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