Quest Magazine - Home

Independent resettlement & recruitment guide for serving Armed Forces & Veterans

Giraffes on tour launches charity giraffe teddy with support from Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate

Giraffes on tour launches charity giraffe teddy with support from Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate

NEWS

14 May, 2024

On Thursday 25th April 2024, 500 giraffe teddies joined a No 10 Squadron RAF flight to raise awareness and support for Great Ormond Street Hospital in memory of Louise Conwaythe daughter of Director of Giraffes on Tour, Ian Conway.

On board the 5-hour flight, with the callsign GIRAFFE-500, was Ian Conway and his wife, two representatives from sponsors, Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, and two Flight Lieutenants; Mark Scott and Jake Weeks.

The ‘Flight of the Giraffes 2’ was organised between Ian and Mark to coincide with the one-year anniversary of their successful first ‘Flight of the Giraffes’ which raised £4000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital when it flew 330 donated giraffe teddies on an RAF Voyager. This year, the GIRAFFE-500 flight flew in a heart shape route that departed, and returned to, RAF Brize Norton to launch the 500 newly manufactured Geoffrey giraffe teddies, which were made possible by the kind donation from Chapter House School, who offered to cover 50% of all production costs.

Sarah Hunter-White, Forces Liaison Officer at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, who was on board the flight, commented, “Our school has a longstanding relationship with the Forces Community and there are approximately 340 Forces students currently onsite, which is about 25% of our community. On a Forces Family Day, one of our team met Ian and learnt about Giraffes on Tour and the great charitable work it was doing in the memory of his daughter. We have a certain amount of Forces community outreach funding available and decided that this was such a worthy cause. We were delighted to be a part of it and the flight was definitely an experience I will never forget!”

Ian Conway explained, “The reason we’re flying all these giraffes, it's set up from one giraffe that my daughter, Louise, had when she was very unwell at Great Ormond Street. Sadly, Louise passed away, and her best friend was Geoffrey the giraffe. So, in her legacy, we’ve got a little giraffe going on adventures. As much as Geoffrey’s travelling, Louise is travelling with him. It means a lot to have the support from so many amazing people, especially the Royal Air Force who provide opportunities for our Geoffrey adventures and Chapter House School who sponsored the creation of the giraffe teddies. It’s all very heartwarming. Our 500 giraffes all had the most amazing time and we do hope that they can find new homes.”

Karen Kilkenny, Head of Chapter House and Queen’s Kindergarten, which is part of Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate added, “Chapter House School has Forces boarders in Years 3 to 5 who have really got behind Geoffrey and his adventures. They have their own boarding house Geoffrey and enjoy filling out his adventure passport and reading about the recent RAF flight he has been on. The children love Geoffrey. He’s becoming a key part of Chapter House boarding and is brilliant at facilitating conversations with our military children, both within our newly renovated boarding house and in our Forces Club.”

Pastoral Co-ordinator and Army Veteran of 25 years, Danny Abdy, who runs the Chapter House Forces Club and joined Sarah on the GIRAFFE-500 flight, said, “It has been an incredibly enjoyable experience, and it is for such a good cause. As an ex-military family man myself, I know the importance that a community feel has on military children and in my experience, Chapter House and Queen Ethelburga’s do a terrific job of making our military children part of a community within a community. The children can join the Forces club in Chapter House and our Combined Cadet Force in King’s Magna, QE College and QE Faculty. There are Forces pin badges, similar to Prefect badges, that the children can wear with pride, our CCF host our own Remembrance Parade onsite, we run activities for events like Armed Forces Day and there are a team of us trained in how to best support Forces children. So, an opportunity like this, is just an extension of our commitment to supporting Forces families and in making them feel truly welcome here.”

Flt Lt Mark Scott said of the flight and the relationship with Giraffes on Tour, “I love having these giraffes with me when we go flying, making everyone smile as they see us around the Voyager building with the giraffes. The charity’s fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital has been close to my heart for several years, and it’s an honour for me to use a “normal” day at work to help them do something extraordinary.”

Each limited edition ‘Flights of the Giraffe 2’ teddy comes with a pencil and a passport to record Geoffrey’s adventures and will be made available to buy immediately on the Giraffes on Tour online store, with all proceeds going to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Chapter House Prep School is part of Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate and offers a co-educational environment for ages 3 months to Year 5, with boarding available in specialist accommodation from Year 3. To hear more about Chapter House boarding, visit www.qe.org/chapter-house or to book a private tour, email admissions@qe.org.

To purchase a giraffe or to read about Geoffrey’s other adventures visit, www.giraffesontour.co.uk. To learn more about RAF Brize Norton, visit www.raf.mod.uk.