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Celebrating 20 years for our Executive Vice-President, Karen Sugarman MBE

May 19, 2023

Friday 19 May 2023 is a day of celebration, as we mark 20 years since our Executive Vice-President Karen Sugarman MBE, joined Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.

Karen has spent 37 years in the charity sector, an achievement acknowledged in 2020, when she received an MBE for her services to life-limited children and young people in the Queens Birthday Honours.

Following a successful career in music and TV, Karen joined Cancer Research UK as a volunteer before spending 15 years working with children and young people living with cancer and leukaemia. Having been aware of the vital importance of the hospice movement due to personal circumstances, in 2003, Karen fulfilled her ambition to work in children’s palliative care when she joined Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.

Karen didn’t join the charity alone – thanks to the many friendships she has cherished for the last 30 years, she was able to recruit now Vice-President’s Dame Joan Collins, Simon Cowell and Tony Hadley MBE as patrons of the charity, along with many other big names who had been inspired by her to champion the case for making children’s palliative care available to the many families that needed it.

During the two decades Karen’s been with the charity, she has been responsible for creating many fundraising opportunities, including the star-studded Shooting Star Ball, now in its 19th year. Her first event for the charity was a special Afternoon Tea for the children and families hosted by Dame Joan Collins, with Sir Bruce Forsyth as MC and Auctioneer. Karen secured a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire special with Patrons Jackie and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen winning £500,000 for the charity; the most money ever won in the history of the celebrity version of the show.

In 2003, she brought retail giant Next on board, to maximise sponsorship opportunities, including carrier bag sales, totalling nearly £500,000.

She’s spoken publicly at three of the world’s most iconic buildings – Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street and the London Palladium; worked with fellow Vice-President Simon Cowell on the X Factor charity single, as well as successfully securing three ICAP charity days raising £450,000. Karen also worked closely with Patron Michael Ball OBE, who generously hosted a series of concerts which have raised over £400,000 and the late Sir Donald Gosling, Founder of NCP car parks, securing over an incredible £1 million.

Sally Wells, Director of Fundraising said, “Karen is an incredible human, absolutely dedicated to making a difference in the world of hospice care. I am privileged to have journeyed the last 20 years together at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices and have seen first-hand the positive impact she has made on so many families and colleagues. Karen’s passion and care for the work we do is unwavering. I know she will continue to make extraordinary things happen in the world of fundraising, to ensure we make every precious moment count for children and families who need our support now and long into the future.”

Karen Sugarman MBE said, “Although I am proud of some very significant fundraising achievements, the best part of my job is helping to make some special memories and wishes for the children and families. I have been so privileged seeing first hand the difference these make. I am forever in awe of every single colleague in the charity and I dedicate my MBE to the team at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices. I hope I can continue to make a difference to families who need our hospice care service now and long into the future.”

A huge congratulations to Karen from us all at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices and here’s to the next 20 years.