Friends of Derby 500 Club

Who are the Friends of Derby 500 Club?

Friends of Derby 500 Club

Who are the Friends of Derby 500 Club?

About Us

Hi and thank you for looking up Friends of Derby 500 Club.

Our hearts have been touched by the wonderful results of the Friends of Derby 500 Club. The donations have been life changing for many people and yet it is such a simple process.

After more than 25 years working in the charitable sector in varying roles I have experienced levels of governance which at times can be frustrating and sometimes even stifle and restrict the work we do with those in most need. The governance is there to protect the most vulnerable, so for a long time I’ve been considering how that might be complimented to allow more appropriate and accessible support.

Most funding streams come with huge lists of restrictions about what can and can’t be funded, not always based on the client’s most pressing needs, they can also take a long time for the application to proceed. The Friends 500 model is perfect. A quick cash injection when it is needed most and based on individual circumstances.

It is important to us that every penny of every £1 donated goes in full to an urgent need, there are no fees, no top slice percentage going to admin costs, and everyone involved are doing this on a voluntary basis.

All the information you need is on this website but please be reassured this is a genuine cause, and that together we can make a real difference to those who need it most.




Rachel Morris

Rachel Morris

Who am I and why you should trust me? My name is Rachel Morris (nee King), and you will find me on social media or an internet search.

I grew up in Derby and have lived all over the country but Derby is where my heart is. I am a mum and grandmother and love spending time with my family. I am passionate about Derby and its people. I’ve delivered many projects across the city, but I am excited and hopeful that Friends of Derby 500 Club will be a long-lasting project which can make a real difference to people’s lives.

I have worked with charities for 25+ years both paid and on a voluntary basis.  When not working I love spending time with my children, grandchildren and watching Derby County Football Club.  I’m passionate about all things Derby and Derbyshire.

Mark Richardson

I have lived and worked in Derby for over 25 years. As a Chartered Surveyor working in the property industry I have taken a strong interest in the City, and its constant strive for change and development.

I confess to having a huge frustration with the sometimes slow nature of things being done and the obstacles that sometimes seem to be in the way of taking what seems to be straightforward direct decisions that could make our city a better place for us all. That is why the ‘direct action’ idea of Derby 500 appeals to me particularly, because we can give funds straight to those who need them most without the inherent bureaucracy that seems to get in the way of so many other decisions and actions. I think it’s a positive idea that many in Derby’s business community will be keen to support.

I am a partner at BB&J Commercial and Director at Rushton Hickman. Outside of work I enjoy my road cycling and never happier than when climbing a mountain on my Colnago. Other than that, I like collecting vinyl records, good food and wine, and spending time with my family. I am also Chair of trustees at the local children’s charity ‘Safe and Sound’, which helps young people and children in danger of exploitation.

Mark Richardson

Helen Wathall MBE

I’m Derby born and from 2 families that have made Derby their home for many generations.  I love all things Derby and am very proud to be from here.  As Chair of the St Peter’s Quarter Business Improvement District, I work closely with other local agencies across the city to support and promote all who live and work in the area. I am also Managing Director and the fifth generation of G Wathall & Son Ltd, our family firm of funeral directors, that has been running in Derby and the surrounding areas since 1858.

I’m delighted to join the Friends of Derby 500 Club team, having been a member from the start. It’s such a simple idea that helps others both in an immediate and a positive way, just when they need it, and without having to jump through complex and inflexible rules.

When not at work, I am a proud mum to 3 and nana to 2, who I love spending time with. I also enjoy a good walk, a good book, and attempting to keep fit in the gym.


Jane Witherow

I’m a Derby girl, born and bred, a single mum of one, a Trustee of the Yappy Ever After Dog Rescue, a foster mum to many of those dogs who come through the rescue and a failed fosterer (they never left), to two of them. I love music, art & design, old movies and a good bottle of wine.

My background is mainly customer service with roles ranging from selling cosmetics in the old Debenhams to managing a team of over 50 staff in Derby City Council. When the pandemic hit I was part of the team who helped set up the Covid-19 Community Response HUB and that work continues to grow with my team being the front door into that community led support that has helped so many Derby citizens to date. For my services during the pandemic I was awarded a “Beacon of Hope” award presented by the High Sheriff of Derbyshire and the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire.

I love to make a difference where I can and I think its fantastic Derby 500 is all about people helping people and the difference it will make to people’s lives.

Jane Witherow

Jeff Williams

I was born in Birmingham, later moving to Sweden and then London. I speak Swedish and English. After retiring from a 17 year career as a professional touring drum tech with a multitude of bands such as Kylie, BB King, D-Ream, M-People, Iron Maiden I began a new career in IT and I still work as a Senior Engineer for a very large and successful London based financial sector company despite moving to Belper in 2016. 

Since moving here, I’ve made many great friends from all walks of life. I love and value people. I’ve been a drummer since the age of 14 and currently play in a band called Redline. A core personal tenet has always been “Do something nice for a stranger, and expect nothing in return”. I live by it and it aligns perfectly with the precepts of the Friends 500 groups. 

In 2019 I earned the rather unfortunate but proud name of “Tampon Man” after making a Christmas trip to the supermarket for some sausages but leaving with a large trolley overflowing with female sanitary products to give to a local charity who support and provide housing to marginalised people and shelter for victims of domestic violence in and around Derby. The whole thing went crazy viral on social media leading to major features in several daily newspapers and really did a lot to help raise awareness of period poverty. I joined the national Friends500 group in its very early days and that viral exposure was instrumental in helping to boost our membership up from 24 members to over 500.

I’m delighted and proud to be a part of the Friends of Derby 500 Club team and will always act with compassion and integrity.


If you’d like to join the club to help people in need in Derby and Derbyshire, just follow the 2 steps below.

We have given away thousands so far and have received nothing but positivity we have changed lives with gestures of kindness and cash. £500 might not sound like a lot of money to some people, but when you are in need and have no means of finding it… it can be life changing.


Set up your standing order for £1 per week (pop your name in as the reference).

CLUB PROMISE: The standing order amount will NEVER be increased. It will always be just £1.


Once you’ve set up your standing order, please drop a quick email to:

That’s it! All done.


We have given away thousands so far and have received nothing but positivity we have changed lives with gestures of kindness and cash. £500 might not sound like a lot of money to some people, but when you are in need and have no means of finding it… it can be life changing.

May 17, 2024 in Giveaway

Giveaway #97 Help needed for personal items on palliative care

Donation no 97 was nominated by our member Jane: I would like to nominate Sally…
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May 17, 2024 in Giveaway

Giveaway #96 Older sister setting up home to keep other siblings safe

This nomination comes from our member Tracy. 18yr old Livi (name changed), is setting up…
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April 8, 2024 in Giveaway

Giveaway #95 Dad setting up home for children to visit

Evening friends, here's news of our 95th donation nominated by member Tracy Harrison "We are supporting…
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