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Former pupil of Astor of Hever in Maidstone takes on charity challenge after mum dies from cancer

By Helen Fairley

To mum-of-two Holly Wadsworth Hill, walking past Gap without popping in is as ‘foreign as a parallel park’.

The self confessed super shopaholic admits to loving buying clothes and accessories more than food, and almost as much as her family.

So when the freelance copywriter declared she would be giving up shopping for a whole year, friends and loved ones were shocked and a little sceptical as to if she could really do it.

Holly with her mum Kaye Goulden
Holly with her mum Kaye Goulden

But former Maidstone student Holly, 31, has a reason for going purchase free for twelve months, and it is that reason that makes her adamant that her wardrobe will be no fuller come Christmas.

Shopping became a comforter for the ex Astor of Hever pupil when her mum Kaye Goulden died in December 2012.

Kaye, who lived for many years in around the county town, including nearly a decade at The Horseshoes pub in Langley, passed away in Medway’s Wisdom Hospice aged just 48.

The single mum of Holly and her sister Gemma, 26, had been diagnosed with stage 4 Endometrial Cancer only seven days before her death.

Her life had been a challenge, from surviving meningitis at the age of three to battling alcoholism, due to an abusive relationship, in her 30s.

But to her two girls, Kaye was a wonderful mum.

Holly Wadsworth Hill when she was a baby with her mum Kaye Goulden.
Holly Wadsworth Hill when she was a baby with her mum Kaye Goulden.

“She was beautiful and kind but tough, steely and determined when she had to be.

She was so creative too, there was always some kind of arts and crafts, dressing up or cookery going on and the house was always full of kids,” explained Holly.

After a year of crying and doing stuff - in Holly’s words, “work has never been busier and my ironing pile has never been so small,” - she decided to raise funds for three charities linked to her mum.

“I went through all the usuals; a run, a walk, a climb, a drop from somewhere nice and high. But then I decided that I’d quite enjoy most of those things and they weren’t personally torturous enough to make as much money as I’d like.”

So instead Holly imposed her year long shopping ban, which means no new clothes, shoes, handbags or accessories until January 12, 2015.

“There are few things that give me more pleasure than buying myself something new. I love the thrill of finding a bargain almost as much as I love a quality coat, the perfect pair of jeans or a lovely new dress – it’s bordering on addiction to be honest,” she guiltily confessed.

Holly showing off one of her favourite purchases
Holly showing off one of her favourite purchases

Now, policed by her husband Anthony and supported by sons Owen, 14, and Edward, 4, she must follow a strict set of rules.

She started with a wardrobe inventory, complete with photographic evidence, which was signed off by Anthony who Holly lovingly describes as “the most pedantic man on the planet”.

And if she succumbs to the lure of the cash register, a £50 fine to all three charities must be paid. This is alongside monthly donations, “which should be easy considering the money I will be saving,” she said.

The usual challenge is in aid of Cancer Research, The Wisdom Hospice and Alcohol Concern.
The Wisdom Hospice in Rochester marks its 30th anniversary this year.
It is the only adult hospice serving Medway and Swale, providing specialist palliative care to patients with life limiting conditions.
The Friends of the Wisdom Hospice supports this work through an annual grant to Medway Community Healthcare. The grant for the current year is £600,000.

To sponsor Holly, or make a donation in Kaye’s memory, see uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HollyWadsworthHill or to follow Holly’s blog go to becauseirunlikegump.blogspot.co.uk

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