A fundraising event in memory of Island teenager Alayna Morris started off just among her grieving family and friends – but it’s accelerated so rapidly that scores of people and businesses are all now wanting to get involved.
The Alayna Morris memorial charity clay shoot, to be held in June at Bowcombe shooting ground in Shorwell, has escalated way beyond the expectations of her uncle and aunt, Bob and Anna Morris, who decided they wanted to raise funds in Alayna’s memory through the Alayna Shae Fund, for those who helped their niece in her final days: the Wight Brainy Trust and the Teen and Young Adult (TYA) ward at Southampton hospital.
Anna, says: “Obviously it has been a very difficult time for the whole family but we just felt we wanted to do something. My eldest son suggested a fundraising shoot because we know a lot of people in the farming community and equestrian world – but we could never have imagined the massive response we’ve had from people offering sponsorship and all kinds of help. It’s been overwhelming”.
Alayna, who worked as a customer service apprentice at the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary, was only 18 when she died last November from a brain tumour.
The much-loved daughter of Jan and Aubrey Morris, she was diagnosed with a grade 4 incurable brain tumour in March 2018 when she was just 17. Alayna underwent surgery to remove as much of the tumour as was safely possible, followed by seven weeks of radical chemoradiotherapy, and then monthly chemotherapy.
Sadly, by October, the tumour had started to show signs of regrowth and she was re-admitted to Southampton General Hospital at the end of October on the Teenage Cancer Trust’s TYA cancer ward, where she sadly passed away on November 14th.
Bob said: “Without this ward, the family would not have been able to spend Alayna’s final few weeks together, and we are so grateful to have been able to do this in wonderful surroundings where Alayna felt comfortable and at ease”.
Having spent this time in the TYA ward, Bob and Anna decided they wanted to raise money to ensure it continues to be available for other youngsters in need.
The Morris family say they were also helped right from the start of Alayna’s journey, both financially and emotionally, by the Wight Brainy Bunch, who they say were “always in contact just for a friendly chat or to help us find information when we didn’t know where to start looking.
“They hold monthly support groups where we met other brain tumour patients and they have now set up a monthly bereavement group.
“We want to raise as much as we can to support these amazing people, and the fact that so many Islanders have already got behind us is really heartwarming”.
• The Alayna Morris Memorial Charity Clay Shoot will be an 80 bird day and pull shoot on June 2nd at Bowcombe Shooting Ground, and will include raffle prizes for a day’s shooting and an original painting by Niton-based countryside artist Beverley Snudden. There will also be an auction for a day’s shooting at established Nutley Manor shoot in Hampshire.
Check-in for shooting starts at 9.30 with last entries at 12.30, and the raffle and auction will be held at around 2pm, with a barbecue and refreshments on offer. Teams or individuals are all welcome to enter, although Bob and Anna would appreciate teams letting them know they are coming to help with the numbers for catering.
To book a team, or for more information, call Bob Morris on 07753 814969 or Anna on 07866 571010.
Just a handful of the many sponsors supporting The Alayna Morris Memorial Charity Clay Shoot:
Westover Farm Contracting
George Jenkins Transport
Andrew White Planning
Reynolds and Read