All posts tagged memories

A Roaring Success: The Born Free Foundation

The lion, represents, courage, wisdom, dignity, justice, authority and more. However these qualities and symbolism make the lion to a few, an attractive animal to ‘hunt’.

Hence, illustrating the reasons behind the worldwide uproar (pardon the pun), when American dentist Walter Palmer, ‘hunted’ and killed Cecil the lion. The plight of the lion is however, not limited to high profile events such as this. Across the world, Lions are in many places still kept as pets, as entertainment providers in vastly unsuitable environments which fail to meet their most basic needs.

Founded in 1984 by the ‘Born Free’ actors Bill Travers MBE and Virginia McKenna OBE, and their son Will Travers OBE,  the ‘Born Free Foundation’ takes action worldwide to save lives, stop suffering and protect species in the wild.

Born Free, fight the ivory trade and sport hunting, hence helping to ensure lions like Cecil are able to live up to their symbolic prowess in the wild, born free and living free.

The book we created for The Born Free Foundation is a special place for their supporters to share and celebrate memories of loved ones, including both humans, and animals. Born Free are a fantastic organisation who we are very proud to work with, so please do consider leaving a message, remember a loved one and even leave a gift in your will to ensure they can continue protecting wild animals worldwide

This is what they had to say about us!

 ‘A huge thanks to our friends at the Online Book Company for the wonderful service we have received in getting this lovely book up and running and on our website’

Keep your eye’s peeled for the Launch of the Born Free Foundation Online Book….don’t forget to have a look at the Born Free Foundation website!


 Born Free Foundation Logo

The Born Free Foundation: Keep Wildlife in the Wild

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Bethany HibbsA Roaring Success: The Born Free Foundation

Sue Bradbury talks to Jonathan Haward, Managing Director of Friends and Relations and The Online Book Company.

You’re marking 10 years of running Friends and Relations with the launch of The Online Book Company. How are they different?

Friends and Relations was conceived as a way of memorialising loved ones online. We began with branded websites which then evolved into commemorative books. A lot of charities use them to raise funds – the RNLI, for example, has been with us from the start and we have recently completed a fully accessible book for the Royal National Institute for the Blind. The Online Book Company represents an expansion and enhancement of all that we offer. We’re no longer just about commemoration but about celebration and education too.

What inspired the original idea?

My brother Group Captain David Haward was killed in a flying accident whilst on duty and my old friend and work colleague Hugh Hastings had also lost his brother through terminal illness. We wanted to share photos and memories of them online and that sowed the seed for Friends and Relations.

What were you doing before that?

I founded and ran the County Homesearch company for 22 years. It’s the largest property finding service of its kind in the UK and the popular Channel 4 programme Location, Location, Location was developed on the back of it – we are still acknowledged in the credits.  I sold the business in February 2013 because, although it was one of the best jobs in the world, I had become passionate about building up Friends and Relations. It felt like I was on a journey and providing an online platform for tributes and comments – some of which make you laugh and others cry – has been very cathartic. It’s also been hugely exciting.

What have been the highlights of your online book journey?

So many lovely things have happened that nothing surprises me anymore. Becoming involved with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 was particularly special. We created an online book to celebrate the occasion that encouraged people to give sixty minutes of their time to help good causes. It was a huge success with a record-breaking number of volunteer hours pledged. More recently we’ve been working on an official Waterloo 200 e-book that encourages school children throughout the country to find out more about the battle that shaped British history by doing their own research and posting their findings. I was invited to the Waterloo 200 memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral as a result and so were some of the many pupils who have been contributing.

You’ve also been working with organisations overseas?

Yes – in fact if it wasn’t for the wonders of superfast broadband technology that enables me to Skype, I’d probably be spending one week a month in America. One of our biggest projects at the moment is Fort Miflin, the oldest fort in Philadelphia. Our online book honours the patriots and veterans who have served there, raising funds to maintain it as a living landmark in the process. As well as searching for information about ancestors or adding memorial pages of their own, people can buy a brick to add to the memorial pathway that is being built. It’s an exciting example of the digital world complementing the physical.

How many people do you employ?

There are seven of us in the core team plus we use a number of Cornwall-based consultants and associates.

What are your aspirations for the business?

There’s a lot happening because we’re always looking to expand and improve on what we do. We’re working with The Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth to launch our first online wedding album towards the end of this year and we’re now putting hard covers on our books to make them even more special and individualised. Our mantra is simplicity. What we try to aim for is a combination of Apple’s design genius and John Lewis’s ‘never knowingly undersold’ objective. We’re also very proud to have ISO 27001 accreditation for our information security management and ISO 9000 for quality assurance.

What makes all your hard work worthwhile?

The feedback we get. To give you an example I had a call from a man in New Zealand who saw from one of our military books that his dad had died. He hadn’t seen his father for many years because he’d been asked to leave home when he was fifteen. He asked us if we could find out if his mother and sister were still alive. We did and the family was reunited. There are many, many stories like that and each one is special.

How do you relax?

By sailing my boat and shooting competitively. I’ve shot for Great Britain in the past and love the sport as a hobby.

Thank you to Jonathan Haward for this fantastic insight into The Online Book Company!

Jonathan Haward - Managing Director

Jonathan, Managing Director of Friends and Relations – The Online Book Company





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Vicki MayrickSue Bradbury talks to Jonathan Haward, Managing Director of Friends and Relations and The Online Book Company.

Creating a Digital Legacy

The loss of a loved one can be hard to come to terms with. Now, in this digital age, we’ve created a way of cherishing your memories in an everlasting format.

We create online books of remembrance, a virtual location for friends and family to visit and share memories, photos and words of comfort from the privacy of their own space – wherever they are in the world, your own digital legacy.

Our individual memory books preserve memories.  Unlike a traditional book of remembrance, the online book creates a sanctuary where a person’s life can be celebrated today, tomorrow and on, into the future.

As well as personal books, we also help organisations such as hospices, emergency services and even zoos who want to create their own digital legacy too. These books create a community where many families can share memories, thank yous and more – as all of our books have the capability to add a direct link to a charity of your choice.

The books we create are bespoke and tailored to your needs –get in touch and discover how you create your own digital legacy.

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Vicki MayrickCreating a Digital Legacy

Commemorating a Very Special 200th Anniversary…The Battle of Waterloo

You may..or may not be aware that we are fast approaching the 200th anniversary of ‘The Battle of Waterloo‘!

2015 rather importantly,marks the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo and in recognition of such, the ‘Waterloo 200 Project’ has evolved. Waterloo 200, is dedicated, with its partners the National Army Museum and Culture 24, to ‘commemorating’ the vital event and showing just how relevant Waterloo remains today.

The 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo provides a unique opportunity to remember the historical significance of this event and how it acted as a catalyst for change. Given the extensive structures which now exist within the European Union, the profound habit of cooperation and pooling of sovereignty to defend and promote European values and common interests, the commemorative themes of multi-national cooperation,  integration and of pan-European security and stability are relevant and timely.

Hence there was a need to commemorate, but to also celebrate the important Historical intricacies of the battle and all those who fought to bring to an end to 23 years of war, and that’s where we came in!


The Waterloo 200 Descendants book provides a space, within which some truly remarkable stories can be and have been shared. All too often, documents and stories are ‘locked’ away, spread across the archives of vast museums even, or simply just untapped in some by-gone memory or family relic. The descendants book we have created provides a real opportunity to unearth never before told stories, to present them in our bespoke online book, and to preserve them for future generations in a way that is open, accessible and dare I say interesting!

We were fortunate enough to have ‘The Western Morning News’ pop by so we could share with them some tales of the exciting things we get up to and hence wanted to share the article they so kindly put together.

Western Morning News Article

If you would like to take a peak at, or even add your stories to our Waterloo 200 Descendants book please follow the link below!

Speak soon and thank you for reading the Blog! Beth (The newest and youngest member of the team!) x

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Bethany HibbsCommemorating a Very Special 200th Anniversary…The Battle of Waterloo