Wheelwrights Charity

Charity Fund Raising – The ‘Tour des Wheelwrights’

The Charity Fund Raising Sub-Committee provides a key link between the Company and the Charity and under the chairmanship of Court Assistant Sally Bridgeland a major fundraising event, the ‘Tour des Wheelwrights’ was organised in the summer of 2021.

Freeman, now Liveryman, Graham Ellis embarked upon a 500-mile bike ride, ‘the Tour des Wheelwrights’ starting from a wheelwright in Warkworth, Northumberland and ending at Douglas Andrews’ workshop in Heathfield Sussex, stopping at other wheelwrights along the way. The ride took place over the period 16 – 27 August 2021 and it raised £14,795 for the Wheelwrights’ Charity and more specifically ’Dogs for Good’ while supporting the Wheelwrights’ Craft by visiting working wheelwrights on route. This will enable a dog to be trained to help a person with a disability to live independently.

Graham was given a good send off from Warkworth by The Master and his wife Marianne, as well as Court Assistants Sally Bridgeland and Chris Ball, along with his son Oliver. The ride ended with a welcoming party in Heathfield for Graham, The Master and Chris Ball, who cycled the last stage together. In recognition of this amazing feat he was awarded a certificate of achievement at the Michaelmas Court dinner in October


Overview Of Activity

The Wheelwrights’ Charity raised £86,000 during 2021, of which £68,000 came from donations and legacies, while the remaining £18,000 came from investment income. The donations provided by Liverymen are critical to the Charity achieving its objectives and the Company is most grateful to all of you for your ongoing support, particularly during the challenging times posed by the pandemic.

As a result of the pandemic the Trustees decided to extend the timeframe of the 2020 Appeal and during the year were pleased to receive donations of £7,950 from tyre industry organisations, including the NTDA. The 2020 Appeal fund also benefitted from continuing donations from some liverymen. In 2021 this enabled contributions to be made to the WheelPower small grants scheme totalling £12,313. This was used to support individuals with specific equipment needs to pursue their chosen sport, including handcycling, kayaking, para triathlon, shooting and wheelchair racing. A grant of £3,500 was also made to Coventry Rugby Community Foundation (CRCF) for a sports wheelchair as part of their wheelchair rugby project which will engage around 100 physically disabled young people.


Specific Grants

During 2021 £57,000 was spent on grants to a range of organisations.

Within this total almost £47,000 related to ‘mobility and access for the disabled’ (including WheelPower and CRCF) of which £31,000 went to 13 organisations referred to below:

  • React – Purchase of two specialist tricycles
  • Aspire – Two specialist swimming pool chairs for use at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital
  • Wheels for Wellbeing – A Theraplay Tracker tricycle for disabled teenagers
  • Snowdon Trust – Providing mobility equipment for a student with cerebral palsy so he can study at Oxford University
  • Surfability – A tandem surf ski, surf boards and wet suits with easy entry for disabled children and young people
  • ELHAP – Upgrading their wheelchair accessible zipwire and providing equipment including Wheelie Riders at their activity centre for disabled and disadvantaged children in East London
  • Happy Days – Improving access by enabling 40 children across three locations to experience cinematic theatre to stimulate their sensory awareness and improve social and communication skills,
  • Thrive – Providing equipment and plants to be used for therapeutic gardening sessions
  • Marches Family Network, in Shropshire and Herefordshire – Providing activity sessions covering sports, arts and craft, cooking and dance workshops for children and young people with disabilities
  • The Grange Centre – Contributing towards the purchase of a utility vehicle to transport those with disabilities, materials and equipment across the 8 acre site


  • Get Set 4 Tennis – Enabling 40 disabled children to play tennis each week for one term.
  • Riding for the Disabled’s South-East Region – Instead of funding the annual carriage driving event (cancelled due to the pandemic) it was used to purchase equipment for their carriage driving course and carriage driving dressage markers
  • The Paraorchestra and Friends – A donation was made from the Alison Fox legacy, to cover the setting up and running of webinars to aid the development of disabled musicians.

The Charity channels its ongoing support for the Wheelwrights’ craft through a separate Craft Fund which is principally funded by donations from the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights’ 100 Club. This currently enables two Wheelwright apprentices to be supported throughout their training

Other relevant charitable causes to which contributions totalling £10,000 were made include:

Paediatric research into disabling conditions through our award of The Geoffrey Udall Prize (Geoffrey Udall was Master of the Wheelwrights in 1970, our 300th year)

Support for the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund.

In common with other livery company charities, we supported a small number of City charities including the Lord Mayor’s Appeal

Grants to Burnt Mill Academy, a secondary school in Harlow, Essex for academic prizes were made for the first time in 2021 and were presented virtually by the Master in July.