No one knew what to do in the wake of the tragic accident, least of all me. However, myself, Nicko’s friends, family and colleagues knew that we had to do something and that some good had to come out of something so terrible. We knew that we wanted to leave lasting legacies for Nicko and Emily so that their lives hadn’t been lost in vain.
As a family we knew that we wanted to give something back to Cornwall, an area where we had so many happy family holidays, where they were both at their most content and where they are now at peace. I wanted to support the rescue services, as having been in a trauma situation, I know first hand how important they are and how vital every second is. The first charity we chose to fundraise for was the Cornish Air Ambulance and more specifically to raise money for new night flying technology. The air ambulance in Cornwall was the first of its kind and is of particular importance here as many areas are so remote and the road networks easily congested. From its base in Newquay airport it can reach any part of the county in 20 minutes and attends on average 3 emergency missions a day.
We held a one off Night 4 Nick in February 2014, where friends, family and colleagues came together to remember my husband. It was an incredible evening with over 1,000 people gathered at Old Billingsgate Market in London. It gave people a chance to chat, laugh, cry and remember their friend, Nicko. There were performances from his friends Simon Le Bon and Mark Owen, along with Pixie Lott and Lawson. The evening raised over £250,000, fully funding the new night flying technology for the CAA. This will enable them to fly in the hours of darkness, extending their flying time from 8 to 12 hours a day in the winter months, attending approximately 50 extra missions a year. I am so grateful for everyone who worked so hard to put the evening together and people’s generosity.
This was a ride from Cornwall to London, over 300 miles in 3 days, to raise money for the RNLI and Child Bereavement UK. The RNLI are a charity who quite simply “Saves Lives at Sea”. They rescued us on that fateful day and I am sure that nothing can prepare a crew member for arriving on a scene such as that, they said it was one of the worst they had ever attended. Again we wanted to raise money for something tangible, so with the money raised we funded training for new crew members in all the lifeboat stations in Devon and Cornwall.
Child Bereavement UK are an incredible charity who support families when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. Every year they train over 6,000 professionals, helping them to better understand and meet the needs of bereaved families. Their councilling has been invaluable to the children and I, they have given us tools and strategies to help us deal with everyday situations and momentous ones. With their help we are slowly rebuilding our lives as a family of 4 instead as one of 6.
126 riders took part in the grueling ride, one rider said it was ‘the best and worst thing he had ever done!’. A further 50 riders rode the last 50 miles, myself being one of them. It gave our local Wandsworth community and some of Nicko’s work colleagues a great sense of purpose and many friendships were formed over the early morning training runs and many experiences on the ride itself. An amazing £500,000 was raised and split between the two charities, again leaving an incredible lasting legacy in Nicko and Emily’s names.
The Milligan Bike Ride finished on our local sports field in Wandsworth, which had been transformed into a Cornish themed fun fair for Emily’s Fun Day. We held a memorial for Nicko at St Martin’s in the Field in October 2014, where over 1,000 people came to remember him and give thanks for his life. I never wanted a memorial for Emily, it just didn’t seem right for an 8 year girl. Instead we organized this incredible day where local families came together to smile, laugh and have fun in memory of Emily, who was Fun with a capital ‘F’.