Meghan Hunt Banner
Meghan Hunt Banner

Fundraiser knows just how much hospice service means to families

Meghan Hunt first got the taste for raising vital funds when she and her mum took part in a trek to China organised by ellenor.

Little did she know that soon after that lifechanging challenge she would have the job of her dreams, wearing an elephant costume, cheering on cyclists and working behind the scenes supporting the wider team to make the Half Marathons a safe and successful event. 

Meghan, now a Supporter Engagement Officer for the charity, said: “It’s such a fulfilling job and everything that is fun about fundraising. I love helping organise events like Walkathon and working with the community and our corporate partners. I also enjoy love setting up things like Santa’s Grotto at Christmas and helping to build up our appeals.”

“I’m always quite excited about going to work,” said Meghan. “Although it’s officially a nine to five role, of course the fundraising means I can be doing things at all times of the day. For instance, last summer I was up at the hospice at 8am on a Saturday morning to say farewell to a supporter who was cycling from there to John O’Groats – to wish him luck and wave him off!

“I’ve also worn our Ellie the Elephant mascot costume at Ellie’s Mini Marathon in 2022 and the London Landmarks Marathon.”

In fact, Meghan, 26, was one of eight mascots to take part in the Mascot Dash at the London Landmarks event – coming in fourth!

She said: “I had a supporting role at that event last year, but this year I will take the lead, as well as at the Royal Parks Half Marathon. My mum is even going to take part London Landmarks – it’s her first half marathon!”

An affinity with the charity is something Meghan shares with her mum Janet and the rest of her family. They first came into contact with ellenor following the unexpected death of Meghan’s father Graham from cancer, when she was just 11 and her brother Eoghan was nine.

“Without ellenor, things would have been very difficult,” said Meghan. “Sadly, my dad died just a couple of days after diagnosis, so he was unable to benefit from ellenor’s hospice care, but they did help us afterwards and my mum had complementary therapy and bereavement counselling.

Then, 10 years after Dad’s death we took part in the China Trek in his memory. We raised almost £7,000 between us and I really felt like we had made a difference.”

After keeping in constant touch with the fundraising department, Meghan started working for ellenor three years ago. Covid and the subsequent lockdown delayed her start date then changed her role. Just like many of her new colleagues in Supporter Care, Meghan was having to adapt to a very unprecedented situation.

She said: “I was working on the database and doing jobs like processing donations, but I’m not really cut out for sitting at a desk for too long. I did enjoy doing the Twilight Walk though – it was the first time ellenor had to hold the walk virtually. It was my first experience of being involved in organising a fundraising event and I really enjoyed it.

“Once everything started to open back up again, an opportunity came up on the supporter engagement team as a fundraising assistant. It was a more active role and meant I was able to be a lot more creative. Then six months later I moved into the more senior Supporter Engagement Officer role.”

Meghan believes the death of her father, the bereavement experienced by the whole family and the support given by ellenor, means she can empathise with patients and their families. This rapport is also evident when Meghan gives talks to supporters.

She said: “When I go out to talk to people, I can really tell them how much ellenor’s help means and it feels really good to connect in that way. Facts and figures are fine. Those things are interesting but not as engaging.”

Meghan, who has lived in Gravesend for most of her life, started her career working in a school with children who had developmental delay and special needs.

She said: “Although it was a very worthwhile job, I wanted something where I could see I was really making a noticeable difference. When me and my mum did the China Trek and raised £7,000 it felt like that amount really would help towards providing something useful, like a hospital bed.”

Part of Meghan’s role now is to co-ordinate the ellenor volunteers, who are invaluable to the charity, helping both at the hospice and at fundraising events.

She said: “I have really loved getting to know the people who are here to help support such a good cause. We couldn’t do any of our events or run our services without them.”

Meghan, who is delighted after recently passing her Covid-delayed driving test, has also been organising the very successful monthly quiz nights held at Perry Street Conservative Club.

She said: “We are almost becoming victims of our own success – in February we had 23 teams so we are getting a bit squashed!”

For the foreseeable future, Meghan hopes to continue developing her role, for example by getting schools involved.

She said: “I recently gave a a talk to Dartford Youth Council, where I was speaking to young people who are really active in the community. It’s good to connect with the people of Dartford as well as Gravesend, and especially with a focus on the young.”