Co-founder of the Charlie Waller Trust, Rachel Waller, awarded OBE in New Year’s Honours

January 20 2022

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Lady Waller, who, with her husband Sir Mark Waller, founded the Charlie Waller Trust, has been awarded an OBE for Services to Mental Health in Young People.

The couple set up the charity in 1997, in memory of their son Charlie after he tragically took his own life aged 28.

From humble beginnings, operating from their home in Bradfield, Sir Mark and Lady Waller (Rachel) grew the Trust into one of the UK’s leading mental health charities. Today, Charlie Waller is the only national UK charity providing evidence-based mental health training, free of charge, to pupils, teachers and parents in schools, as well as to universities, colleges and other large institutions.

Prior to stepping down as Head of Fundraising in December 2020, Lady Waller spent almost all her time working on a completely voluntary basis to raise funds. The Trust now raises and spends in excess of £1 million per year.

After hearing of her award, Rachel said: “I was completely amazed and thrilled! This really is wonderful for the Trust. It is the result of everyone involved in the Trust working hard together for mental wellbeing.”

We are now expanding our work with parents of children with mental health problems, as the effects of the pandemic on young people’s wellbeing become clear.

Our CEO Clare Stafford, said:

“Rachel’s extraordinary achievements have paved the way for us to help thousands of parents and carers struggling to support young people with mental health problems. Our workshops give them the confidence to support their children and, vitally, to know they are not alone.

“Rachel is truly inspiring. She spent every weekday in the office and most of her evenings and weekends at fundraising events or networking to help the charity. As well as devising the overall fundraising strategy, she still thinks nothing of rolling up her sleeves and washing up at events, including many that have become local institutions such as the annual cricket tournament at Bradfield College.”

In a letter to supporters of the Trust last April, when Rachel’s son, Richard Waller, took over from Sir Mark as our Chair, he said:

“It is extraordinary to think that Charlie died over 24 years ago. It is also extraordinary to think of what has been achieved in that time by the Trust under the stewardship of my father and on the back of the funds raised tirelessly, and some of you may feel relentlessly, by my mother. Their ambition was to ensure that Charlie’s death was not in vain – an ambition that has been well and truly fulfilled.”

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