The event is dedicated to Tim Richardson, who founded Inspiration for Life, and to Victoria Henshaw, a colleague from Urban Studies who died in 2014. The 2018 24 Hour Inspire was also dedicated to Sheffield alumna Dr Maryam Raftari, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, with our love and support.
The 24 Hour Inspire is Inspiration for Life’s flagship fundraising event. Put simply, it’s a 24 hour lecture marathon, featuring back to back talks, mainly half an hour in length, on life, the universe and everything, all accessible to a non-specialist audience. It raises funds through the sale of tickets and refreshments, and through general donations.
The idea came from Tim Richardson. In 2011, before he was ill, he did a solo 24 hour lecture marathon in aid of Children in Need. It was an amazing achievement – he pushed himself to his limits, and his students and colleagues backed him all the way, keeping the lecture theatre full even in the small hours. So when we started to think about an event to raise funds for our new charity, it was very obvious what form it should take.
As we began to organise it, we knew already that Tim wouldn’t be well enough to take part. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in June 2012, and was able to be involved in the initial stages of setting up the charity, but by the end of that year it was clear that he was slipping away. We went ahead with the event, with the blessing of his family, and it took place just a few weeks after his funeral.
We had no idea at that point that this would become an annual event. But the enthusiasm we tapped into, not only from people who’d known Tim but from so many others, from speakers and volunteers alike, told us that we should go on. And so we did, and we have continued to attract new speakers, new volunteers, and new audiences.
The event is not a memorial. It’s a celebration of everything Tim believed in – of learning and teaching, of sharing knowledge and enthusiasm, of inspiration.
The 24 Hour Inspire has taken a break in 2019, whilst we look for a new venue. We’ll be back in 2020 and as soon as we have a date and venue for the event, we’ll be letting everyone know on the website and through social media.