What is the Nicholson Memorial Fund?


The Nicholson Memorial Fund was set up by Ben Nicholson in memory of his wife Anita and their two children Alex and Annabel who tragically lost their lives in the Sri Lanka bombings on Easter Sunday 2019. Anita was a hugely popular member of the Atlas Foundation family. She set up and ran our first ever fundraising dinner with a Halloween themed event at the Singapore Cricket Club on 31st October 2018 with Jason Leonard there to promote Atlas's work in the Far East, raising over £20,000. We remain eternally grateful to her and are all devastated to have lost her.


Ben says that in addition to Anita's role with Atlas, rugby has been a significant and important part of their family life, driven in particular by Alex and Annabel's love of the game. He has been working with Atlas to create a fitting memorial to all three, with Atlas contributing £20,000 to open the fund, but the cause has touched the heart of so many across the globe that it has received more support than we could have ever anticipated. The Atlas message and the Memorial Fund’s name has been spread far and wide and really embraced by the wider rugby community as well as the local Singapore community.


How will the Fund make a difference?


We have now raised over £500,000 for Atlas work in Singapore and across Asia and are working with Ben Nicholson to create a fitting legacy for Anita, Alex and Annabel, and as the start of “Atlas Asia”.


Atlas CEO Sally Pettipher visited a number of projects across Asia, including Kampuchea Balopp in Cambodia, a project known to the Nicholsons and the teammates of Alex and Annabel who have previously donated kit and equipment to the KB children.


At KB day in Oudong, the ancient capital of Cambodia, Kampuchea Balopp will officially launch the All Schools Programme in Oudong supported by Atlas Asia and the Nicholson Memorial Foundation, following the first grant made by the Nicholson Memorial Fund. The day sees children from 4 local provincial government schools (which are under the Oudong All Schools Program), and also children from NGOs and international schools join in a morning of sports activities from 8am until 12 noon, to break down barriers and build relationships among the children.  



We are also investigating the capacity to deliver Atlas All Schools programmes in the Philippines and Indonesia. This work will have a special focus on young people with disabilities and on empowering girls. Women and girls are particularly disadvantaged and suffer inequalities and discrimination more keenly there than in the West.


Another sum of the money raised will be used to create a programme for the poorest children in Sri Lanka, a country forever associated with the tragedy in which Anita, Alex and Annabel Nicholson lost their lives. 


The work in Sri Lanka will follow a tested model used to improve the education and achievement of thousands of children across India with the Jungle Crows programme, more information about which can be found on the Atlas website. The success of this work has been immortalised in a Hollywood Film "Jungle Cry". 


Ben Nicholson and the Aon team in practice for the 2020 Round the Island Challenge in March.

November's inaugural AN Memorial Games saw Alex and Annabel's school teams plus invitational sides from across the world take part on the Padang in Singapore.

Lily Kiely and her sister fundraising by selling AN wristbands.