International Women’s Day 2018

As International Women’s Day approached I found it profoundly challenging to pin point the woman who inspires me most – so I decided to think about what it meant to me to be a woman.

Being a woman is a challenge, it’s awkward (bra management alone) and it’s incredible. Standing up as a proud woman can be vulnerable but that is what I am and I would not be able to stand up were it not for the ocean of support from the incredible women in my life.

So my inspiration is to the women around me – all of them – but today I want to bring forward the women of Whiffle Pig. This company was started off the genuine love and support of a friendship between Rachel and I, since then we have become (purely by accident) a female led company. The women who have joined us blow my mind every day. Not only do they walk into the lives of our patients and make them feel like they have been cuddled beyond breath, they do this no matter what is happening in their lives. The wonderful Whiffle Pig ladies come in smiling after finding out a friend or relative has died, over coming crippling anxiety to catch the bus to the wards, whilst trying to make sure all of their children are fed, waters and happy and through every weather manageable without even a sniff or a whine. I have not known them to have a day off sick (without force) and their strength and kindness fills me with warmth everyday.

So today, on International Women’s Day, I dedicate it to the empowering women of Whiffle Pig – thank you.

Annie Pig x

Mandy M

I am very happy that I will be delivering creative activities to Derby families this International Women’s Day at an organised event, with my daughter and wonderful Whiffle Pig artists. Thinking about this event has made me think about the women who have inspired me. Growing up I was inspired by many female musicians and artists, but one who has stuck with me since I was 15 is Kathleen Hanna, not only because of her creativity, but because of her attitude – as a shy person, I have always found confident women to be something to aspire to be! Another lady who has of course had a huge influence on my life is my mum – although we are very different in many ways, she has always tried to support me and is constantly kind. So many happy memories with my mum, possibly one of the most important things she has passed on to me is the necessity to encourage ‘wonder and awe’ for children, something I strive to do with my own children and with the participants I meet through the Whiffle Piglets project.

Danni Pig

My inspiration is my Nanna, she may not be a big figure in history (even though she is my link to the royal blood line) she’s inspires me everyday. She has taught me what not to put up with but more importantly… How to stay young. My true inspiration Janet Sheehan.

Nat Pig

Pictured below is my friend Annie, she is a woman I admire for eleventy billion reasons. She is a wonderful mother, friend and person in general. She is hilarious, wonderfully Bonkers and the most selfless woman I’ve ever known.
She was my right hand woman, rock and sanity during a very difficult time in my families life even though she was fighting her own personal battle.

She remains my friend now, and always will, as we work together within her company to improve people’s lives on a daily basis using kindness manners and laughter.

Rachel Pig

International Women’s Day to me means ‘Bravery’ more than anything else. Being confident in myself and my abilities is something that is a continuous battle for me and I’m sure for many other women also. Having the bravery to recognise it, acknowledge it and gradually work towards conquering it is a personal goal. Working for Whiffle Pig has been the perfect tool to help me face this battle head-on with friends, colleagues and workshop participants showing me that each triumph, however small, means a huge amount to their daily lives. Seeing other people battle daily with debilitating illness, injury and their own personal obstacles certainly puts life into perspective and makes me feel so incredibly proud and privileged to witness their bravery first-hand, seeing and feeling it impact not only myself but others around them. Thank you mum for showing me how it’s done. Be brave, Go with the flow and MASTER IT!

Laura Pig

My inspirational woman is Shirley Temple – after using her success as a child actor – her role as a breast cancer awareness pioneer in later life may have saved thousands of lives.

“Speak up about the issues that affect you: you’ll probably find out that you are not alone and may save a life in the meantime.”




What’s in a name?

More and more we are asked Why the name Whiffle Pig? WELL ladies and gentlepigs – are you sitting comfortably? – we shall explain:

Rachel and Annie started this company in 2012 after Rachel’s lovely mum died following a very short, but aggressive battle with Pancreatic Cancer. Using her mother’s sewing machine Rachel and Annie (using her rather battered sewing machine) started to make little creatures out of upcycled fabric they were donated. In early January 2013 Annie’s step father died; succumbing to complications which had arisen from a brain injury he incurred when falling down the stairs in 2008. When you lose a parent it is crippling but when you have looked after that parent in their final years then you also lose an identity of carer. Suddenly you have all of this time you didn’t have before and that can very rapidly become total isolation (and often does in many cases). Rachel and Annie clung to each other and boarded their sewing machines on the rocky sea of grief which they plunged into together.

They started to set up stalls to sell their work which was never what you would call ‘main stream’ homeware but they had fun doing it and it made people laugh. After a short while they realised that rather than making items to sell it was more fun to make items on their stalls instead – then they started to venture out to run workshops with local charities such as Making Space. Not long after that Annie wanted to give something back to the neuro rehab unit at Royal Derby Hospital where her step father had spent so much time so they started projects there, all for free, using up cycled materials – these proved to be something of a success so they applied for funding to continue the projects, finding out if their sessions would work in any other wards of the hospitals. They are currently now funded to work in all of the dementia wards, the Parkinson’s out patients, the stroke out patients, the children’s wards and still at the neuro rehab of the Royal Derby Hospital and the London road Community Hospital. They also work in the surrounding areas of the community supporting families with young children and working with patients after discharge, encouraging them to come out to group workshops or seeing them at home for one to one’s if they are house bound. They are working in local nurseries and schools and have a wonderful piggy team of folks so that more people can be seen and supported.

Rachel and Annie are still the best of friends, even closer now if that is possible – still supporting each other for the excitements life churns out. It had always been a joke that they were meant to be married as they had so much in common and shared the fantasy and imagination of an ambitious 5 year old which was why they had always called each other Wifey. Wifey often got shortened to ‘Whiff’ and then extended to ‘Whiffle’ and somewhere along the way, when things got especially bad, Whiffle Pig was used as a term of endearment to make the other laugh. It was mutually decided that, that was the only thing their company could be called. Doodling one afternoon in the early days Rachel came up with the cracking logo (Lord Whiffle of Pig as he is affectionately known) and the Monopoly esq piggy was born.

So there you have it – that is how we were named. It has worked fabulously with the birth of the Whiffle Piglets (both in projects for children and the actual birth of Annie’s children) and being able to use swine based nick names for projects and events. It has never not made people smile and it’s not a name you easily forget.

It may seem like just a name to some but to us, every time we receive feedback that Whiffle Pig has helped someone who was isolated and struggling it makes our hearts sing as this was just started to help each other and we never dreamed it would ever grow this big x

Charity Cycling fundraising

Virgin 64 Mile Cyclone Challenge.

After weeks of (mildly half effort) training Rachel & Annie Pig took to the Northumberland roads for the Cyclone Challenge. Rachel Pig was riding for Cancer Research UK in memory of her wonderful mum and auntie and Annie Pig was riding for Bloodwise in memory of their lovely friend Jack. As well as riding for those amazing people and incredible charities they also used this time (as they were aware it may take them a while) to launch their ‘Protect Your Beautiful Brains’ campaign donning their new cycle tops and knitted brain helmet covers made by a fellow fundraising cyclist.


Brains 01


Brains 02

We asked said fine lady to write a bit about why she began making knitted bobble hats for bikes:
“Back in 2012 I finished a years treatment for breast cancer. I was in hospital for a follow up appointment when I opened a magazine and saw an advert for Women v Cancer cycle Cuba which is where these challenges started for me. The Cuba cycle was perfect as it meant I had to get fit which I had lost over the year of treatment, It also gave me a way of paying back as I knew I wanted to help make a difference. So I have set myself a challenge to do at least 5 overseas challenges and 5 Ride The Nights all raising money for the 3 Women v Cancer charities. It was leading up to the 2nd Ride The Night that I came up with the idea of bobble hats for cycle helmets as a way to raise some of my fundraising and I have been knitting and bobble making ever since. So far there are > 200 in Team bobble hat raising > £2.5k.
It is so lovely to see ladies sporting their bobble hats knowing we are all doing these challenges for our individual reasons but all raising funds too. It’s occurred to me if the reason that some people choose not to wear a cycle helmet is how they look it could be argued as part of your ‘Protect Your Beautiful Brain’ campaign that they could adopt a cycle bobble hat too!” – Jacqui Batterbee.


J 1 J 2 J 3 J 4

This was the biggest challenge Rachel & Annie Pig had done to date but the beautiful weather coupled with the incredible views and outstanding support from the villages who posted home made cakes into our mouth as we went pelting past really gave us an almighty wallop of a boost – and every time we hit a hum dinger of a hill (which did happen quite a bit) we just gritted our teeth and remembered why we signed up for this and powered on through to the end.


Brains 04
We will be entering next year so do let us know if any of you want to join us – it is not for the weak hearted but the home made cake and the chance to sport one of the amazing brain hats is totally worth it!
Brains 03

Charity Cycling fundraising Uncategorised

Protect Your Beautiful Brains Campaign

Wearing a helmet on your bike, you would think, is common sense. Making sure your children are wearing a helmets when on a bike/ scooter/ skateboard is a given – yet so many people do not do either of these things. This is something that we at Whiffle Pig want to change.

Since Rachel Pig & Annie Pig have taken to peddling like they’re being chased, around England in various events they thought it would be a good time to start marketing their new campaign. Your beautiful brains are so important and SO fragile, you really must take care of them. Accidents can happen at any time so we are not saying wear protective head gear whilst pottering round your house and garden but you are more likely to cause damage from falling off/ being knocked off your bike/ scooter. The repercussions of having a head injury to not only yourself but the people around you is enormous and life altering, even with a reasonably quick recovery.




To keep this campaign going we will be posting facts about your beautiful brains so you can appreciate that lovely squidgy mass which is reminding your legs to walk and your mouth to speak and finding new ways to encourage you to wear a helmet, it really does matter so much.


Old Abbotsholmian Annie Pig

As some of you know we are in the process of trying to help the neurological rehabilitation unit rebuild their sensory garden. Our aim for this is to have as much staff and patient involvement as possible rather than bringing in outside artists.

Recently Annie Pig got in contact with her old school to ask them if they wanted to help Whiffle Pig by letting us use their Design & Technology block so we could make bird tables, insect houses and sensory frames using up cycled wood we scavenged from various people’s houses. The morning was a great success with some of the pupils joining in with some really fantastic skills. In just two and a half hours we managed to produce three sensory frames, three insect houses and five bird houses! All of these the patients will decorate to their own styling.

Planting bee friendly plants and encouraging birds into the garden will use a very simple way for patients, their families and the staff to relax by watching them flit about – knowing they have played a part in making them themselves will also build their self confidence with a sense of achievement.

We want to thank the staff and pupils at Abbotsholme school for helping us out and look forward to our future projects together.



OA 1          OA 2



Recently Mandy Pig & Annie Pig took their first steps into becoming Regional Makaton tutors.
The core of Whiffle Pig is listening to what the patients and their families really want then finding a way to achieve it. During our two months running pilot workshops in Puffin Ward (the children’s ward) we spoke to parents of disabled children who said they would love to have a better ability to communicate with their children, out of all the activities and projects we said we could offer to them, that was something they really wanted. So we plan to offer this – for free – to families who are living with communication difficulties.

Aside from offering it for free we will also be qualified to train up anyone who is interested in teaching it themselves with all of the profit from the cost of the training going back into Whiffle Pig to fund all of our projects and workshops.

Mandy and Annie really enjoyed themselves with a great tutor and everyone on the course being just as keen as they were.



Charity Cycling fundraising

Ride the Night 2016

Back in 2013 Annie Pig had this wild idea to enter herself in the bike event ‘Action for Charity – Ride the Night’. This was a huge 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Windsor up to London and back again through the night to raise both money and awareness for female cancers, sponsored by Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action. During her training she fell ‘ill’ and discovered she was incubating a Whiffle Piglet so had to pull out of the event.




Ever determined she signed back up to take part this year and roped one of her old friends in so she wouldn’t be peddling the streets of London on her own. It was an utterly incredible experience right from the get go. The event itself was extremely well managed – buzzing with music and excitement – everyone getting free temporary tattoos and having their free photoshoot. The ride itself was spilt into waves from 21:00 until 22:30 set offs so that there was no bottle necking on the way and the weaker riders stood more of a chance of getting back before the 7am cut off point. The feed stops along the way were heaving with cakes, soups, hot drinks not to mention toilets and a Halfords team to give your bike a little tweak if needed.




The laughter, kindness and moral was evident throughout from everyone who took part and even from complete strangers cheering in the streets and handing them money. Annie Pig feasted her eyes on a range of interesting sites including the token gent vomiting outside a take away, the occasional drunken couple arguing and two tabby cats riding shot gun in a car at midnight – not to mention the glorious sight of the London Eye lit up bright pink to support them all.




Annie Pig and her loyal friend Charlie rolled across the finish line not long after 4am feeling elated and emotional. The whole event collectively raised just under £1,000,000 which is just awesome. We highly recommend taking part in this as we certainly will in the future!




Follow the link here for more information and to join us next year!

Bloodwise Charity Cycling fundraising NatterJack

The NatterJack is back!



The NatterJack is officially live and rocking. For those of you new to this event it is a 27 bike ride from Ashbourne Cycle hire on the Tissington Trail to Parsley Hay and back. It has home made cake stops along the old railway stations which are free to the cyclists. There are Whiffle Pig workshops, arts & crafts and general merriment happening at the start/finish line for those who can’t ride and for family members.
This event is to raise money for Bloodwise in the memory of our wonderful friend Jack. This event was started last year as support for Jack and his lovely finance Nat when he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, something for them to focus on during his month of aggressive therapy and something for all of his friends and family to get involved in wholeheartedly. Nat & Jack even managed to surprise us all on the day by coming from hospital to greet us all sweaty, exhausted and utterly elated.
Race photo
Jack passed away last month leaving us all desperately saddened . He loved the NatterJack and was so happy we were going again this year – we intend to run this every year from now on.
Bloodwise are such a good charity. They have supported us all from the very beginning of this journey and were kind enough to invite us along to meet the professors working in the lab, to see the work they are doing to try and fight and stop blood cancers. Please watch us for all the fund raisers we do to support this charity and take part in as many as possible – we could save a life!
Bloodwise meet       Bloodwise


Respect the Elderly.

Today was the first day that Whiffle Pig joined forces with the wonderful ladies at Respect the Elderly working together on the dementia ward at the Royal Derby Hospital. Carly (founder of Respect the Elderly) and Annie Pig went to secondary school together for a short period in 1994 and they had remained in sporadic contact ever since. Both of our companies share the strong desire to help people and their passion and genuine care for the elderly beams from them. Carly and Alison will be meeting with the patients on the dementia ward whilst Rachel and Annie meet with the staff to make sure they get ideas from everyone involved. The outcome is very exciting!


Looking all smug and beaming together!



Book launch and exhibition.

For those of you who don’t know the recent book ‘If not now – when?’ by Annie Pig was written following a photography project she started with her step father in 2011. Annie’s step father had a serious head injury in 2008 after a fall down the stairs leading to him changing entirely both mentally and physically. The photo project was initially done as something to occupy and help them during this time, following his death – when Annie exhibited the work they did together in his memory – it became apparent that it had a very powerful outcome. It was suggested then that their story should be made into a book.




On this day the old photo project was shown along with the book with the option to buy. The entire profit from the book goes back into Whiffle Pig to help fund the workshops. It was an incredibly emotional and very busy day and it also meant that Whiffle Pig’s lovely Treasurer was able to take part and travelled down from her homestead in Edinburgh. So many people came to see our work and our book as well as seeing some of the beautiful work produced by the artists chosen to exhibition around the walls of the Royal Derby.




Thank you everyone who took the time to come and support us and especially those who brought the book too. If you are interested in buying a copy please visit our online shop and we will post it out to you. As well as buying on here you can also buy from Scarthin Bookshop in Cromford, they also have a very fine collection of cake so do settle in and roll around in the salted caramel chocolate slice… as we did…