Charity launched in memory of Aylesbury man celebrates Starbucks partnership

A charity in Aylesbury launched in memory of a young man who died at 22 has celebrated its new partnership with Starbucks.

By James Lowson
Monday, 13th June 2022, 2:01 pm

The Nic Willoughby Fund which was created four years ago following Nic’s passing, has become the official chosen charity of Starbucks in Aylesbury.

To celebrate the occasion and unveil a new contactless box, which presents a new place for people to donate, the charity had a launch event, which Mayor of Aylesbury Councillor Tim Dixon attended.

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Aylesbury Mayor Councillor Tim Dixon, Nic Willoughby Fund chairman Cam Southgate, and Andrew Garniec Starbucks Aylesbury general manager

On Saturday 21 May, the mayor was one of the people to see the new modern donation box which now sits in Aylesbury’s Starbucks store.

Currently, the charity is encouraging people aged between 14 and 35 to complete Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) heart screening appointments.

Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School is lending its venue for screening sessions organised by the charity scheduled for 20 July.

The town mayor testing out the new contactless donation box

The Starbucks in Aylesbury had a special reason for wanting to link up with the grassroots charity.

General manager, Andrew Garniec, worked with Nic at Nuffield Health Centre, prior to his sudden death.

It was Andrew who reached out to Nic’s mum, Jackie, to set up the partnership.

Cam Southgate, chairman of The Nic Willoughby Fund, told The Bucks Herald: “The day was great we had a number of supporters from the charity come down, we’ve got quite a loyal following.

The launch event was held on 21 May

"Some people from Starbucks came along, the CEO of the Gatehouse building, he was there as well.

"It was a brilliant morning for us, we were able to do a bit of networking, having a chat over a coffee.

"We’re still very young as a charity, we’ve been going since 2018, but as you can anticipate, because of the pandemic, our operations came to a little bit of a halt.

"Not a great deal happened over that two-year space.

"Having a constant presence in a local store is awesome for us, and with it being a Starbucks, a huge brand, so seeing our little device there, is incredible for us.

"Loads of people have contacted us about the heart screenings since, and we’re hoping it is going to build from there.”

The Nic Willoughby Fund runs in partnership with the Heart of Bucks, and between the two not-for-profit organisations the idea producing a contactless box came about.

As less and less people are carrying cash, people can make a donation of £3 just by tapping the box, it can be adjusted for donors wishing to donate a different amount.

The charity has plans to run four more screenings for young men to be checked out in 2023.

Organisers will be asking people who complete a screening at the grammar school next month to have their photo taken so a collage can be produced explaining the value of having your heart checked.

This summer will see the return of the charity’s cricket funday.

On August 7 the charity is hosting its third annual cricket tournament at Chearsley Cricket Club.

Traditionally teams of all abilities have turned up at the fundraisers which is open to the public.

Some athletes have never held a bat in their lives, while other village club teams turn up with the sole goal of winning.

More information on the charity can be found on its website here.