60 Postcards

R.M. Williams Saloon
Thursday 23 February 2017

Not even Storm Doris could keep the formidable Ladies in London network from coming together for a very special evening, the first for 2017.

Greeted by the warm hospitality of R.M Williams, our hosts for the night, rain-soaked coats were whisked away and replaced with Dickie Fitz schnitzel-sized canapes and chilled wine thrust into our hands.

A bit different to any event we’ve held before, the night’s purpose was to celebrate life, address what it feels like to lose loved ones and the incredible power of human connection and how it can bring us back from the brink.

With words like “death” and “cancer” still such a taboo topic of conversation, it takes a strong individual to tackle it head on, so personally and yet in such a public form.

The LiL network welcomed key speaker, Rachael Chadwick, an inspiring young woman who wanted to find a way to pay tribute to her mum, after losing her to cancer just 16 days after diagnosis.

The trauma, pain, shock and grief pushed her to take action and reach out to others going through a similar experience. And she did this not tweeting, texting or email – but writing postcards, to people, all over the world. Her story has inspired many and is captured in her book 60 Postcards.

Rachael’s book and story went global and she has been written about in all mainstream press.
Daily Mail   Buzzfeed   Glamour  Guardian  

With a captive audience of more than 50 guests, Rachael honestly and eloquently told the story of losing her mum, navigating the minefields of friends and colleagues reactions and consequently planning her trip to Paris to honour her mother’s memory. Every person in the room had been affected by cancer – someone, somewhere, sometime and shared her anguish. Rachael then invited the now quite emotional “professional networker” throng to partake in sharing their own words on postcards scattered around the RM Williams space and deposit them around London.

With wine and animated conversations flowing, we were reminded how important it is to take stock, take the time and catch up with people. In real time….. old school style, not just a flurry of Whatsapp group texts and emails. Amazing connections were made and contact details exchanged. Ladies in London networking at its best – be gone Storm Doris.

I decided a blog would be the perfect way to document my story. It would reignite my passion for writing, something mum always encouraged me to do.

Do you have a postcard that’s itching to be sent out into the world. Don’t let your #newyeaynote sit at the bottom of your handbag – write a few words, take a photo and tag us. Then leave it somewhere special and see who finds it?
And if you’d like to continue following Rachael’s journey and her projects, follow her 60 Postcards or New Year Notes blog posts.

RACHAEL CHADWICK

Rachael Chadwick is a freelance writer and communications consultant, living in Kings Cross and often found coffee shop hopping around the city.

She was born and raised in Dorset, before going on to study English Language at Cardiff University. After graduating, she fell into the corporate world and moved to London in 2008, working as a Contract Negotiator for an energy company.

In Dec 2012, Rachael founded the creative project, 60 Postcards, in memory of her mum. Her experiences are documented in a blog and after signing a book deal with Simon and Schuster UK, she released a memoir of the same name.

It was at the time of the book deal that Rachael decided to make the leap of faith to change careers. She now works as a freelance communications consultant, writes on the Huffington Post and Londonist and is still often found scattering postcards (her latest initiative is called New Year Notes).

What’s next for Rachael – #newyearnotes

Handwritten notes are fading away in our soon-to-be Black Mirror world. Finding a message from a stranger has a ‘message in a bottle’ feel. It’s special. There is something beautiful in the anonymity of these notes. We just don’t know what other people are going through in their lives. This initiative celebrates the simple connection from one human to another.

“Rather than take on any New Years resolutions that I’d never see through (as per), I wanted to do something a bit different to kick off 2017. I put a call out for people to send New Year messages for me to handwrite on postcards. I ended up with 100 of them and, with a little help from some friends, have been scattering the notes around the city for strangers to stumble across.

Where have they been left? On the tube, in cafés, tied to benches, in bookshops, bus stops, pinned to notice boards…anywhere I could find. As long as it could be done on the sly.
Every single message is different and all are profound in their own little way…”

Rachael Chadwick, Buzzfeed