Ready to make 2018 SPARKLE

I know, I know… I say it all the time – “Write soon!” Well, this time I mean it. 2018 promises to be one of the most jam-packed, life-altering years of my life and I look forward to bringing you all along on my unbelievably exciting journey. Before I delve too much into what’s in store over the next year, I’d like to fill in the gaps and give you a brief run-down of what’s been happening chez Tilly over the past few months…

Upon my return from a week in the States in August, a great loss swept through the nation following the news of Sir Bruce Forsyth’s passing. A wonderful man and legendary entertainer, Sir Bruce touched the lives of millions across the globe, but for the Griffiths family, he held a very special place in our hearts. Back in 2008, I received the great honour of being awarded a Pride of Britain award as a Child of Courage, and who better to present this to me than the-one-and-only Sir Bruce Forsyth? Alongside Tess Daly, Sir Bruce surprised me on the evening with not only the award, but also a tap dance on stage just for me! Having spent years watching him as the star of the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom, in our family Sir Bruce represented all things sparkle and show biz, and for that alone we are eternally grateful.

But oh no, it didn’t end there. Following the Pride of Britain Awards, Bruce became an ambassador for Caudwell Children and worked tirelessly to promote and support the aims of the charity. In addition to attending the annual Butterfly Ball alongside his wife, Winnie, he took time to truly connect with the charity in a way that only Bruce could. It was so wonderful to stay in touch with both Bruce and Winnie over the years and each time we met, he always glowed with that Brucie sparkle.

It is for all these reasons that, upon being asked to speak about Sir Bruce on BBC Breakfast alongside Caudwell Children Chief Executive, Trudi Beswick, I felt so truly privileged – what greater honour can there be than to have the opportunity to pay even a small tribute to such an extraordinary man? 
Sir Bruce Forsyth will be sadly missed, but will remain forever in our hearts.

Continuing with the theme of glitz and glamour, what better way to kick off my final year of Sixth Form College than to head over to Cheshire for Dawn and Ashley Ward’s glittering Crème de la Crème Ball. This event never fails to provide fabulous entertainment, a whole host of celebrities and an evening of pure sparkle, but most of all, all proceeds from the night go straight to Caudwell Children. Again having the honour of giving a speech about the journey that my powered wheelchair has taken me on, I had the opportunity to really reflect on how far I’ve come thanks to this magical machine and to look forward to my next, very exciting chapter across the pond.

The next few months were filled to the brim with university applications and college work as I build up to the end of my time at Sixth Form College. I could not be more thankful for the support I have received during my time here and can honestly say that my dreams of studying in the US would not be coming true if it were not for there determination and unwavering belief in me. I’m getting closer to California with each step and will be posting my news in the very near future!

Between trips to London for US university fairs and the mountains of college work I have been wading through, it has been a pleasure to again be part of Sanja’s Hollywood and Bollywood. A fusion of Hollywood glamour and Bollywood pizazz, the ball welcomed a range of top-class entertainers and a feast of authentic cuisine that wowed the guests in the stunning setting of Keele Hall. For its 10th anniversary, Pritpal and Ruby, the founders of Sanja, decided to return to three charities that previously benefited from the ball – Rudyard Sailability, Douglas MacMillan and MASE. As representatives of Rudyard Sailabily, my Mum, my Nana and myself attended a number of meetings leading up to the ball and, for the first time, I got to see how such a fabulous event is put together. Playing a part in the organisation of the Hollywood and Bollywood Ball made our experiences on the night all the more valuable and, thanks to the hard work and dedication of Pritpal and Ruby, an astonishing amount was raised for the three deserving charities.

As we approached Christmas, our festive celebrations took an unexpected path with the loss of my beautiful Nana on the first day of advent. After moving in with us just over two years ago, Nana embraced all that life in the Griffiths household had to offer, and even in her final week, was out on the dancefloor being the belle of the Sanja Ball. Nana featured heavily in my life from the moment I was born and continues to inspire me today with her positive outlook and zest for life. Thank you Nana for all the wonderful memories to cherish forever and for inspiring me to always reach for the stars.
As we now wave goodbye to the festivites for another year, I can’t help but look forward with great excitement to the year ahead. Undoubtedly, 2018 will be a year of monumental change and I look forward to navigating this with you all by my side. 
Thank you all and write soon,
Twitter/Instagram: @ItsMeTillyG

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