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International Women's Day




On 08 March 2024, the world celebrated International Women's Day under the theme "Inspire Inclusion". It's crucial to recognise the leadership of women who embody this spirit in their everyday actions, and one such woman is Charlotte Fairall, the CEO of Sophie's Legacy, whose story serves as an inspiration to all.




Charlotte was born in Winchester Hospital on June 24, 1980. A sociable and chatty child, she always gravitated towards caring roles, expressing a desire to look after children or people from a young age.

 

After completing her BTEC diploma in childhood studies at college, Charlotte pursued further education at Liverpool’s John Moore University. However, tragedy struck during her first year when her father passed away suddenly at the age of 50. Devastated by the loss, Charlotte took a year out before enrolling at Bournemouth University, where she qualified as a Social Worker at the age of twenty-one—a role she loved deeply.


For sixteen years, Charlotte dedicated herself to social work, before deciding to look at alternative careers, in order to find a better work/life balance and to spend more time with her children. In September 2020, Charlotte was just two days into a new job in a school safeguarding role, when her life took an unexpected turn, and her daughter Sophie was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer. Tragically, Sophie passed away a year later at just ten years old leaving Charlotte devastated. However, amidst her grief, Charlotte found the strength to transform her pain into purpose, leading to the creation of Sophie's Legacy.


What distinguishes Sophie's Legacy is its commitment to inclusivity. Charlotte has tirelessly worked to ensure that the charity's services are accessible to all parents with children in hospital, regardless of background or circumstance.



Under Charlotte's leadership, Sophie's Legacy has launched various initiatives addressing the challenges faced by parents in hospital settings. From providing basic necessities like food, toiletries, and clothing to campaigning for the introduction of a Children and Young People’s Cancer Taskforce, improved nutritional support and play specialists, the charity has made significant strides in creating a more inclusive environment for families in need.

 

Reflecting on her journey, Charlotte expressed, 'I never ever expected to become a CEO of a charity. I'm super proud of what we have achieved, how much change we've achieved and how far Sophie's story has gone around the country. I have an incredible team with a lot of strong women. I love inspiring others to reach their potential. I see some people like our, soon to be apprentice Caitlin, who just need people to support and believe in them. I love that we can make a difference to her life and guide her’.

 

Charlotte's leadership style is rooted in empathy and compassion. She believes in embracing the unique strengths and perspectives of every individual, regardless of gender, race, or background. Thanks to this approach, Sophie’s Legacy continues to thrive, creating positive change and supporting families when they need it the most.

 

 


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