Char’s Fund is a memorial tribute to 23 year old Charlotte Jones, beloved daughter of Alan and Liz Jones and sister to Vicki who so tragically succumbed to the Asian Tsunami on December 26th 2004. A memorial statue stands at the headland of Siam Bay beach on the island of Ko Racha Yai, Thailand and there is a memorial tree and garden in the grounds of the Cittaviveka Buddhist Monastery in West Sussex. We will never forget her.
Charlotte Jones was 23 and died on the island of Ko Racha Yai in Thailand when the cataclysmic Tsunami waves struck early on the morning of the 26th December 2004. Char was on a gap year and had just arrived in Thailand after a fascinating yet exhausting month in India. Charlotte loved travel and adventure… she bungi jumped, climbed Kilimanjaro at 16 and learnt how to scuba dive...
Her parents, Liz and Alan, want to build a 'living' tribute to their wonderful daughter and have created a fund in her name - “Char’s Fund” - which will help children through their education in Southern Thailand.
Charlotte sponsored a girl in Rumania whilst at Bristol University and they decided that it would be fitting to do the same. Many millions were affected by this particular catastrophe and they would like to give something back to the affected area in Char’s name.
Alan, Liz and Vicky were in Thailand over Easter 2007 and met the children for the first time. They say it was a most uplifting experience. And the teachers they also met said that probably folk had no real idea on what a huge difference the scholarships were making to the children's lives.
Monies raised for the Fund have now reached £35,750 of which some £2700 has already gone directly to Muang Phuket School in Thailand to support 10 children there aged between 11 and 16 (mostly girls) on long term educational bursaries. We have received individual letters from each of the children (in Thai) and this is what 16 year-old Kachornsri Tannucroh had to say: “I deeply appreciate the scholarship you have given me and I will use it to my utmost to improve my education”. Kachornsri comes from a broken family and lives with her sister in rented accommodation. She has now moved on from the School and has to support herself at Phuket College where she is on a Business Studies course. We have replied to each child (in English!) to let them to know more about Char and where she came from and what she was doing in Thailand.
Onion Fest 2007
This year’s third Onion Fest - in memory of Charlotte Jones and put on entirely by Char’s friends - was held on Saturday 28th July, featuring all kinds of bands from all over the place playing for free. One thing Charlotte was particularly brilliant at was getting everyone together to have a great time - be it travelling to Europe for a 3 day festival, a night out clubbing in London or just down the local for a Friday night – and she was always right there in the middle of everything organising tickets and making sure a good time was had by all. Music festivals were one of her most favourite things and that is why Char’s friends thought it would be such am amazing way to remember her and in turn raise money for Char’s Fund, which supports young students in Thailand to continue with their education.
The original idea was the brainchild of Char’s good friend Fraser who thought how fantastic it would be to get together all the talented folk from her extended group of friends and hold a mini festival. They had all been shaken by the events of Boxing Day 2004 and were both devastated by the loss of their close friend and the awful destruction of life for so many poor people in Asia. The name of the festival and also the idea to make it into a charity event came from Ian Brewer upon whose land the festival was held. And the name ‘Onion Fest’ was inspired by Char’s best friend Becky’s habit of calling her Little Onion (shallot!).
Onion Fest 2007 year was bigger and better than the previous two years with two outside stages this year and twice the number of bands. Spread over a much larger area it was all very professionally organised by Char’s friends. This year’s festival had a Thai theme and the absolutely fabulous Onionettes performed an amazing Thai dance to add to their superbly athletic pole skills.
After all the costs of running the festival were deducted, it provisionally looks like that over £5000 will be able to go into Char’s Fund, taking the funds now raised to over £53,000. Alan, Liz and Vicki Jones would like to sincerely thank all of Char’s friends for all their magnificent hard work yet again this year (they know who they are!) as well as kind sponsors of the Onion Fest 2007 - Liddiard Scaffolding, Cheeky Rascals, Beaver Tool Hire and South Downs College. Special thanks too to Black Dave who designed the OnionFest T-shirts (a few still available), Jhon Cosgrove for organising all the bands and Pete Tarrant & Eve Griffiths for all their choreography help with the Onionettes.
By Alan Jones
Over the Christmas 2005 break, whilst most folk in the UK got stuck into their traditional family festivities, the Jones family of Love Lane, Petersfield was often to be found walking quite slowly along a very beautiful beach on a tiny idyllic island off the southwest coast of Thailand. The sun shone, it was rather warm, the sea was a glorious blue and small waves lapped gently on the golden sand. But that wasn't what they saw. Instead, they often closed their eyes and tried to imagine what it must have looked like a year before and what their wonderful 23 year old daughter Charlotte would have seen and felt as a huge wall of water thundered towards her.
"On Boxing Day 2005 we held our own personal tributes to our daughter with a candlelit procession to the beach and the loading of offerings onto a raft and candles lit and then sent out to sea, followed by the letting off of 23 hot air lanterns..." take a look at pictures of the ceremony
The last photograph taken of Charlotte while she was firedancing on Christmas Day.
Please read a BBC news article about Charlotte...
A memorial statue has been placed by her friends at the end of Siam Bay on the island of Ko Racha Yai.
Alan, her father, ran one half marathon for the fund earlier this year and he is about to run another. Char ran these races with him in 2004, her first half marathons.
Read an article written by Charlotte's Dad for the Health Service Journal ...
Char running the Reading Half Marathon in 2004
Char running the Windsor Half Marathon in 2004
In The Wake of Charlotte Jones
A poem written by Tim Hicks
Some local friends also recently organised a pop festival in her memory which raised £1000.
Read an article by Jo who organised the festival...
On the 10th of September, Charlotte's old friends
gathered on Collingwood Rd in Redland outside Charlie's last flat to unveil a plaque which says "One force of nature, overcome by another".
Read an article written by one of Charlie's friends...