A dedicated father, fundraiser and Ambassador for Acorns Children’s Hospice has been confirmed as one of 2,000 inspirational people from across the West Midlands who will take on the role of Batonbearer in the Queen’s Baton Relay this summer.
Worcester’s Tony Frobisher has been specially selected to represent the West Midlands by carrying the Queen’s baton through local communities in July when the Queen’s relay comes to the West Midlands ahead of 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Father-of-three Tony was chosen from over 8,000 entries after his incredible story captured the selection panel.
The 53-year-old has dedicated his life to raising vital funds and awareness for Acorns after his family received lifeline support from the charity’s hospice in Worcester.
Tony said: “It’s taken a little bit of time to sink in. It’s only after receiving messages of congratulations from friends and family that you realise how big of a deal it is. I’ve never been nominated or selected for anything of this nature, so I was very proud and honoured just to be nominated.
“You don’t do things like fundraising for recognition, you do it because you want to help raise awareness of charities like Acorns as well as pushing yourself. So, to actually get recognition at this level came as a real surprise – but it was very welcome. It’s given me a huge boost. It motivates you to want to do more.”
Tony and wife Rini’s triplet daughters Jewel, Louisa and Milla were born 16 weeks premature in 2006. Sadly, Jewel passed away after 17 days. Milla and Louisa survived against the odds, coming home after six months in hospital.
Within a year Milla was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, meaning she required 24-hour care. She was unable to walk, talk and needed a feeding tube into her stomach.
The family were referred to Acorns, with Milla and Louisa both enjoying short breaks at Acorns for the Three Counties in Worcester initially. After Louisa was discharged, Milla continued to visit Acorns where she would take part in different activities, sensory play, hydrotherapy and receive one-to-one care.
Tony explained: “Acorns gave my wife and I the chance of a break from the constant 24-hour-a-day care for Milla and Louisa. Broken sleep, illness, feeding regimes and medicines all took its toll on our physical, mental and emotional well being.
“To see the happiness of all the children in Acorns, to see Milla smiling and relaxed, being so well cared for by the amazing, dedicated staff and volunteers was very important to us. To know she was safe, but happy, cared for and being treated not as a patient, but as a child.”
Sadly, Milla passed away unexpectedly from a sepsis infection while abroad visiting family. Acorns was there to support Tony and his family through the unimaginable.
Tony said: “Acorns were one of the first to reach out to us. They were there to support us every step of the way.”
It’s thanks to this care and support that Tony has taken on numerous challenges in aid of Acorns and its care for life limited and life threatened children, like Milla.
Among the feats have been the Acorns Triple Run in 2014, a 200-mile cycle in 2016 and a 12-hour sing and guitar-a-thon in 2020, all of which have seen him raise thousands of pounds for Acorns.
A keen poet, Tony also published a collection of poetry, with all proceeds going to the charity, and in 2020, he became an Ambassador for Acorns as a Parent Carer Champion.
Tony’s role as a batonbearer will see him continue to raise awareness of Acorns and its work caring for local children and families across the West Midlands – it will also see him fulfill a promise he made to Milla.
He explained: “I feel very proud that what I’ve done has been recognised in this way and that it will recognise Milla and Jewel.
“Whenever I’ve done fundraising it’s always been for a number of reasons, obviously the motivation to try and raise as much as I can for charities, in particular Acorns for their help and support, but also I made a promise to Milla when she passed away that I would always fundraise and do what I could to keep her memory alive.
“So, it’s a really special way to remember both Milla and Jewel.”
Tony will join the other West Midlands runners for the 22 July leg, which falls just five days before his 54th birthday, making it a ‘great little present’.
Listen to more from Tony in his interview with BBC Hereford & Worcester (From 10:03 to 17:03)
For more information or for interview, photograph or filming opportunities, contact the PR and Communications team:
David Chamberlain: 07817 612422 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicki Robinson: 07814 302153 / email@example.com
Notes to editors:
Due to the sensitive nature of Acorns care services it refrains from using the words ‘terminal’ or ‘terminally ill’ in its press releases and public communications when describing the children who use Acorns and the conditions that they have. Instead, Acorns uses the words ‘life limited’, ‘life limiting’, or ‘life threatening’. Acorns kindly requests that you respect this in your communications when referring to Acorns Children’s Hospice. Acorns children have a lot of living to do. Thank you.
- It costs £27,000 every day to run Acorns services providing care for children and support for their families. The charity relies heavily on donations to fund the majority of its activities.
- To find out more about Acorns, please visit www.acorns.org.uk