The Sugarplum Wadi Run Trek – 100km for £100k to mark 100 years of insulin

We did it! 100km across the Wadi Rum….

Alice de Romarquel, Sacha Bancroft Cooke, Alex Sears, Alex Stuart, Mascha Sautter, Susannah Evans-Pollard, Kirsty Cornell, Martha-Noel Patton, Sophie Stevenson, Jos Grant, Claire Kay

In November, myself and eleven other women took on the Wadi Rum challenge to mark the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin.  100km over 5 days, averaging 20km per day, over a challenging landscape of sand dunes, stony plains,  dry river beds,  and finishing each day camping under starlight in the Desert  – a life-changing experience for all of us.  Almost all those who walked along side me are affected by type 1 diabetes in some way – whether they live with the condition themselves, are a parent of a child who has been diagnosed, or are simply friends with a family affected by it.

As we have stood by each other’s side during this gruelling type 1 journey so far, we took on this new challenge in the hope that by walking together we would raise vital funds needed to help change the lives of all the brave little stars who are faced with the daily ordeal of needles, blood testing and carb counting needed purely to stay alive. 

We are currently at £72,500 of our target and would so love to get to the full £100k, so if you’d like ot donate. Please visit our JustGiving page

For a more detailed blog about the trek, please see my instagram @jubiebalfour

Our trek was organised amazingly by the team at Tribal Tracks –

Breathtaking landscape
Much welcomed shade…
A moment of reflection overlooking the most insane landscape, quite literally The Valley of The Moon
Inside the canyon
Nothing like a bit of retail therapy and cup of mint tea in the middle of the desert!
Jehad, our wonderful Bedouin guide
Wearing our matching Açai hiking shorts – quite the backdrop for a photoshoot
Dusk at camp
Getting unpacked before it got dark at 4.30pm and we then literally couldn’t see a thing
At the finish line !

The Sugarplum Sponsored Dog Walk – Sunday 22nd March 2020

We are super excited to announce that the second Sugarplum Sponsored Dog Walk will take place at Cornbury Park on Sunday 22nd March, 10.30am – 12.30pm. 


– 5km Sponsored dog walk for dogs and their owners (if you dint; have a dog you can still come without one!)

– Dog show with actor Jeremy Irvine as guest judge

– Brunch with hot and cold drinks will be served

– Posy of flowers given to each mother to celebrate Mother’s Day

– Goody bag for every dog

Register to walk here:


Guest judge Jeremy Irvine with his Yorkshire terrier Captain.


The Fourth Sugarplum Dinner Raises £1.5 Million

The Fourth Sugarplum Dinner was held on 14th November, World Diabetes Day, at London’s iconic Victoria & Albert Museum, and raised a staggering £1.5m for the international type 1 diabetes research charity JDRF. JDRF.

This year’s event played host to 350 supporters of Sugarplum Children – the charity set up by Jubie Wigan 2013 after her daughter Aliena was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at just two years old.

Big names supporting the night with their attendance included :Mark Ronson, Florence Welch, Downton Abbey creator, Lord Julian Fellowes and wife Emma, and  Jonny Labey, who starred in X Factor Celebrity and who lives with type 1 diabetes.

Jubie paid tribute to all the children who have to take on the massive responsibility of life with type 1 diabetes, but who don’t let the daily challenges stop them. She told guests: “I believe that a time will come when type 1 diabetes is a distant memory for Aliena and the thousands of other children who manage this challenging condition on a daily basis. With even just a little belief, anything can happen.”

Nine year old Aliena captivated the room whilst giving her own speech about life with type one, for which she received a standing ovation .

Caius Pawson, founder of the Young Turks record label which he launched a couple of years after himself being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, spoke about his passion for the theme of the Sugarplum Dinner – ‘If you believe, anything is possible’ –saying: “This message completely resonates with me. I’ve always lived by the idea that if you can see it, you can make it.

“Being able to see other people with type 1 diabetes not just survive, but thrive, has really helped me to make a better reality of my life with diabetes.”

Guests were treated to a dinner cooked by not one, but two Michelin chefs, Jason Atherton and Tom Kerridge, as well as a mesmerising acoustic performance by Florence Welch, and after party DJ set by none other than Mark Ronson.

The night also saw a live auction conducted by Lord Harry Dalmeny, Chairman of Sotheby’s which included the following one-off prizes: Bespoke Huntsman dinner jacket with inner lining designed by artist Sir Michael Craig-Martin; The Venetian Dream – a trip on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express including a stay at the Belmond Hotel Cipriani and private tours with Lanza Bauccina and Save Venice; Chris Floyd photograph ‘Night must fall, Los Angeles’ and Downton Abbey Comes To Dorset – a stay with Downton Abbey creator Lord Fellowes, and Lady Fellowes.

The Sugarplum Dinner live auction has become synonymous with money-can’t-buy lots and this was no exception.  The final lot was a once-in-a-lifetime six-Michelin Star dining experience with chefs Jason Atherton and Tom Kerridge, a performance by singer/song-writer Jack Savoretti and actors James Norton and Jeremy Irvine as your butlers on the night (both of whom support JDRF and live with type 1 diabetes), and which sold for £100,000.

In September 2018, Jason and Irha Atherton’s daughter Keziah was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, after being rushed to hospital. Jason told JDRF: “The awareness and the fundraising that the Sugarplum Dinner brings means the world to us. Keziah is now able to lead the life of an average teenager – but with the addition of insulin injections every day. Irha and I are really passionate about educating people on the warning signs of type 1 diabetes as every minute really does count. ”

While James Norton, actor, JDRF supporter and Sugarplum Dinner committee member – who was unable to attend due to last-minute filming commitments – summed up the importance of World Diabetes Day, saying: “I love how so many people are celebrating the bravery of those living with type 1 diabetes and the crucial support they receive from their family or friends in order to make sure that type 1 diabetes doesn’t hold anyone back.”

The fifth Sugarplum Dinner will take place in November 2021.

All images copyright Fear Photography. 

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Florence Welch & Mark Ronson

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An Ode To Type 1

During Jubie’s speech, at the recent Sugarplum Dinner, she included an Ode that she had written during one of the very long and lonely nights whilst looking after her daughter Aliena.

An Ode To Type 1

An angry and cruel beast you crept into our lives
Slowly manifesting yourself as a hideous surprise
An evil curse we just can’t shake
Leaving a trail of devastation in your wake
We laugh, we cry, we constantly ask ourselves the question why?
A rollercoaster of highs and lows over the years
With more days than not ending in tears.

Sweets, chocolate and biscuits are banned,
The doing of your very own hand
The same packed lunch every day at school
Whilst everyone tucks into pudding around her,
How can you be so cruel?
Even with constant monitoring perfect results can’t be guaranteed
Counting every single carb as you seem to watch on with glee
So many other factors can turn things awry
However diligent we are and however hard we try.

Night after night you make me want to scream
Waking our precious child from her sweet deep dreams
I walk down the hallway in silence so deep
Keeping a constant watch over her as she sleeps
I hold her hand tightly fingers so small
Constantly questioning why you came to call
I watch her breathing so peaceful and warm
No evidence of the forces inside fighting the constant storm.

Will we ever be free of injections and blood testing
I sit and wonder as I watch her resting
The beep of the meter breaks the silence of the night
A small drop of blood tells me if everything’s alright.
The seconds count down to the final display
I wait with baited breath, knowing the repercussions from it will say
My heart sinks as I see the number is low
Another test done, but a lifetime more to go,
I try to wake her and force feed glucose
How long until she is out of the danger zone who knows
Time passes by, while I wait for the number to rise
And I sit in the darkness and quietly cry.

How can you do this to someone so small?
As strong and as brave she can be,
She will always be my baby most of all.
But I have to stay strong and for her I will fight,
And we will take you on with all our might.
We are teaching her to master and conquer this foe
You will not dare stop her, I have her promised her so.
So don’t for one minute think you’ve won
This battle has only just begun.
Your time is up type 1, your time is now
The curtain is falling, and you must take your final bow.

So know this, little stars, we will fight until the end
And on that you really can depend
With all the money that is going to be raised,
Thousands of childhoods will be saved
And the time is getting closer when you won’t have to be quite so brave.

Written by Jubie Wigan

The Sugarplum Dinner 2017 raises £750,000 for JDRF

We are extremely proud and excited to announce that the final Sugarplum Dinner, held on 14th November 2017 (World Diabetes Day) raised a staggering £750,000 for JDRF, taking the total raised by Sugarplum Children to £1.6m, which really will change the lives of all those brave little stars who live with this condition.

The dinner was a star-studded affair at London’s iconic V&A Museum, attended by 400 guests, including the Prime Minister, actors James Norton & Jeremy Irvine, all of whom live with the condition, as well as Jamie Dornan, Rafe Spall, Jack Savoretti and a who’s who of London’s poet players.

James Norton welcomed everyone to the breathtaking Raphael Galleries, before founder of Sugarplum Children, Jubie Wigan, spoke about her family’s battles with the illness, finishing with an Ode to Type 1, after which there was not a dry eye in the room.  The silent auction took place whilst guests enjoyed a delicious dinner cooked by Last Supper, and then followed the live auction with Chairman of Sotheby’s, Lord Harry Dalmeny.  The sought after lots included dinner with James Norton, a private concert with singer Jack Savoretti, and a week staying in the most luxurious house on exclusive island of Mustique.

Guests then partied until the early hours to DJ of the moment, Hugo Heathcote.  Jubie had always said she wanted to ‘go out’ with a bang – and she most certainly did!JDRF V&A 003IMG_9742IMG_8358JDRF V&A 019JDRF V&A 014JDRF V&A 081

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock (9222971ag) Theresa May, Jubie Wigan, Charlie Wigan, daughter Aliena and son Caius The Sugarplum Dinner 2017 at Victoria and Albert Museum,, London, UK - 14 Nov 2017


Hooray For Theresa May!


Aliena Wigan, pictured with the now Prime Minister, Theresa May, at the Sugarplum Dinner 2016.

Yet another apology for not having written anything on the site for a while – juggling work and family life, as well as Sugarplum Children,  seems to be harder than i thought it would be, but I couldn’t not mention the most exciting thing to have happened in a long time – the fact that not only do we have a female prime minister, but more importantly, one who lives with type 1 diabetes.

Having met Theresa at both of my Sugarplum Dinners, I can’t begin to stress enough what an engaging, witty and likeable person she is.  And more important than that, she is a woman of her word and will always support a cause close to her heart whenever possible.   The Sugarplum Dinner last year was held three days after the attacks on Paris, and despite being strong advised by Scotland Yard not to attend any public engagements, the then Home Secretary ignored there advice as she had made a promise to come and show her support, something which meant the world not only to me, but more importantly to Aliena as well.

So how wonderful it is to have a Prime Minister who lives with type 1, to show all children living with any illness that anything really is possible. In her words ‘it doesn’t change what you can do’, an inspiration to any parent or child affected by this unrelenting condition.

Every cloud does indeed have a very bright silver lining.

Light At The End Of The Tunnel


First of all I’m so so sorry (yet again!) for my silence over the past few months. After the huge (but rather overwhelming) success of the last Sugarplum Dinner, I decided to give myself a bit of a break from all things diabetes, and focus on other areas of my life – obviously looking after my family, and in particular Aliena, meaning that it’s very rare that I ever switch off from thinking about blood sugars or carbs, but I decided I needed a break from the illness beyond the daily routine of managing her type 1.

It always takes me a month or so to readjust once the dinner is over – I throw everything I have into the organisation and thrive on the planning and execution, basking in the glamour and glory of the what we manage to achieve, so as you can imagine, once it’s over, all that remains are the invoices that need to be paid, and the ever present reminders that life with a child who has type 1 is far from glamourous.

But what an exciting few months it’s been – I decided that now that the school are dealing with Aliena’s bloods so well, and I’m lucky enough to have some more help at home, that I’m in a great position go back to work, and I’m so so thrilled to be starting a new three day a week job as of May, as Brand Director for a new men’s and womenswear label. I will of course still run Sugarplum, and will get much better and doing regular newsletters and blog posts, so you will hopefully be hearing a lot more from me!

I finally feel as though I can see the light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel (almost 4 years since what we call D -Day), so I wanted to share this with all fellow parents – that it really does get easier. With a combination of newer technology (the introduction of both FreeStyle Libre and her pump has quite literally changed our lives) and friends and family being less scared to look after her as a result; Aliena being able to take a bit more control of her diabetes; and me finally learning to let go of control both at home and at school, I feel as though I’m finally getting my life back, and I can’t tell you how AMAZING that feels!

I will always be a mother first and foremost, and you know what, a pretty good one at that, but oh boy am I excited to get on that train to London twice a week and remind myself that I used to be good at other things too…for too long I think I have let type 1 define our family, and as Aliena gets older I’m learning she won’t always want it to be this way – we have to learn to let it fit in with our lives, and not the other way round, and it feels pretty empowering making the first step towards doing this.

But panic not, after a well earned break, I’m now back ready to fight our cause with even more passion, energy and fire, so watch this space. As I said in my last speech

‘Where there is a will there is a way, and as any parent of a child who is ill will tell you, our wills are stronger than most – so here I stand dressed in my armour, war paint on my face, ready for battle; so you’d better watch out type 1 because I’m coming for you’. 

We can do it – between us all we can win this fight and ensure that life without type 1 for our precious babies becomes a reality.