FAMILY and friends of a fun-loving young Bicester mum who lost a battle against breast cancer last year will make sure her 40th birthday anniversary gets the celebration it deserves next Saturday, February 25.
Friends of former Bicester Community College student Justine Silvester have organised a fundraising disco at Bicester Rugby Club, featuring some of her favourite music, and offering an array of fantastic auction prizes donated by businesses.
And Justine’s daughters Maisie, 10, and Ruby, six, will be braving the cold as they scrub cars outside the rugby club next Saturday morning.
Family and friends – known collectively as Team Silvester – hope to raise a minimum of £500 for the Oxfordshire bereavement charity SeeSaw, which supported Maisie, Ruby and their grandparents Julie and Ian in the aftermath of their tragic loss just 10 months ago.
The girls’ grandmother, Justine’s mother Julie, said the events were thought up as a way to repay some of the kindness shown by SeeSaw, as well as to celebrate Justine’s life.
“It was entirely their idea,” she said. “The family had been helped by SeeSaw, so they wanted to do something in return. At first we used to just ring SeeSaw up for advice. Then we met other families at a function in Yarnton for children having their first Christmas without their parents.
“Later on, they took us on a day out to Cotswold Wildlife Park.
“They’re also going to help to do a memory box for Maisie and Ruby so they can keep memories of their mum.”
Julie said she may only speak to SeeSaw once every six months, but said the charity was always there to support the family whenever it was needed.
“They’re lovely people,” she said.
But Julie said this Christmas had been a particularly hard time for the family, and said the girls had not been certain whether they could cope with the emotional pressure of next weekend’s events.
“They were a little bit unsure at first when we explained about the party and car wash,” said Julie.
Maisie, 10, a keen cross-country runner, has already taken part in a Race for Life event to raise money for Cancer Research UK in memory of her mum.
“Maisie has been affected a little bit more because she’s a little bit older, but doing these things will help,” said Julie.
Next Saturday’s charity car wash and disco will not be the first celebration of fun-loving Justine’s life. In a touching gesture, a group of Justine’s friends flew out to New York in October to help her fulfil a 40th birthday wish.
Justine had told them she would love to visit the Big Apple for her 40th birthday, but sadly she never had the chance.
Friends asked to borrow items of Justine’s jewellery so they could feel she was with them on the trip.
The friends hosting next Saturday’s disco have secured some fantastic auction prizes from local businesses including golf days, spa days and jewellery.
“People have been very generous,” said Julie.
Donations will be collected for SeeSaw on the door, and the night will include games as well as Justine’s favourite music and a charity auction.
“We really hope everyone will enjoy themselves,” said Julie.
The charity car wash will run from 10am to noon in the car park of Bicester Rugby Club in Oxford Road, and the disco will start at 7.30pm in the clubhouse.