Afternoon tea in honour of Stewkley girl with rare heart condition raises over £3.6k for charity

'We were overwhelmed with the positive response'

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 10:36 am

A vintage afternoon tea held in honour of a young Stewkley girl with a rare heart condition has raised an incredible £3,680 for charity.

On September 19, residents stepped back in time to enjoy music, dancing and delicious food in order to help a charity called Little Hearts Matter.

The charity supports young Lucia Pollard, eight, who was born with a condition called Double Inlet Left Ventrical, meaning she has only half a working heart.

Fiona with her friend Samantha and (left) with Lucia and Lucia's father, James. Photos: Karen Gurnett Photography.

Through their work, Lucia and her family have met other children and their families with the same or similar conditions, allowing them to enjoy fun activities together and build a support network.

Fiona said: "The afternoon was thoroughly enjoyed by all 107 attendees with wonderful compliments, especially about how beautiful the room looked with all the vintage crockery and the delicious food provided by Caroline Gates from Room No9 in Leighton Buzzard. Caroline sponsored all the cakes and worked tirelessly preparing all the food. I am so grateful to Caroline and her team for all they did.

"The afternoon also consisted of dancing from Swing MK and singing from Fiona Harrison from A Voice in a Million, as well as a raffle and several stall holders.

"Poppy Mardlin and Poppy Blackwood From All Stars Academy sang a beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow and received a huge round of applause.

Vintage afternoon tea. Photos: Karen Gurnett Photography.

"We thank everyone who helped us host the event from baking cakes for our takeaway stall to setting up tables and serving the guests."

Fiona wanted to give something back to Little Hearts Matter, so organised the event with her close friend Samantha Mardlin.

It was held in Stewkley Village Hall, with all proceeds going to charity, while they received a great deal of support from local businesses.

Fiona said: "My friend Samantha Whalley kindly put me in touch with the Leighton Buzzard Observer to promote our Vintage Afternoon Tea. They kindly promoted our event and we were overwhelmed with the positive response.

Fiona Harrison. Photos: Karen Gurnett Photography.

"We received generous donations from David Russell Urban And Rural estate agents in Dunstable, Marcus Feinhols Fine Homes Property and Steve Pospisil from SMP Gas & Heating in Leighton Buzzard, and Hunters Garage in Stewkley.

"We already had support from Caroline Gates at Room No9, who was sponsoring the cakes and baking and preparing all the food for the event, and from Charles Hill Garden services Ltd, Stewkley, who were paying for our hall hire, while Hunters garage in Stewkley and Buzz Print in Leighton Buzzard were printing our tickets and menus,

"Adrienne's Flowers in Leighton Buzzard also offered a prize and Little Smiles sleepover parties have offered Lucia a sleepover experience."

She added: "We were honestly astounded by all the amazing responses from the article - how kind and supportive people that had no connection to us were."

Lucia with mum Fiona and dad James. Photo: Karen Gurnett Photography

The Pollard family would also like to say thank you to the following businesses for raffle prizes: The Stag Mentmore, Sterophonics, Little Darlings Wax Melts, Seed & Scent, Liscombe Health Club, Fountains Hairdressers in Stewkley, The Swan Pub Stewkley, Sarah Keay Beauty Stewkley, Darcey Grace gifts, UFIT drinks, Room Number 9, Rebecca Marsala Flowers Swanbourne, Chloe Croft London, Corrina Silvester, Beautifully Different Winslow, Andrew Carter, Faye Lewington Ceramics, Lucy Houle England, Laura Matthias cakes, Steffens Jewellers, Rebecca Kent Nails, Adrienne’s Flowers Leighton Buzzard, Wild Rose flower company, Captain Tortue, and George Browns Ltd.

She added: "Thank you to everyone who donated crockery and thanks to Floral Vintage Cutlery, and to Mursley farm shop for donating the eggs for our sandwich fillings. Thank you to Wiltshire farm foods for the table linen and to Fyne Packaging Ltd Leighton Buzzard for their help with the cake boxes.

"Many thanks to everyone who also donated directly to the charity."

For more information about the charity Little Hearts Matter, please visit: read our previous story about Lucia and Little Hearts Matter, visit:

Singing and raising a glass to Little Hearts Matter. Photos: Karen Gurnett Photography.
Guests enjoy the vintage afternoon tea. Photos: Karen Gurnett Photography.