A MUM-OF-TWO is paying tribute to her twin sister as she prepares to mark what would have been their milestone 40th birthday on Wednesday, June 3.

Hannah Fitt, 40, of Barry, is fundraising for The SAFE Foundation – of which she is managing director – and she hopes people will be able to support the charity that has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Her sister, Lucy Dickinson ran the charity, which they set up in 2006, until her death, aged 32, when she was killed while working on a project in Zambia.

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SAFE is an international development charity working with vulnerable people all over the world, including Wales.

The charity delivers education, health, and skills projects to help lift people out of poverty and increase their wellbeing and resilience at the same time.

It is currently working in Sierra Leone, Uganda, Cambodia, India, and Wales.

It runs events and fundraising activities, now online, and it has an ethical boutique in Cardiff - where they raise funds and run workshops to raise awareness of responsible consumerism and sustainability.

The charity also runs global education projects to vulnerable young people and corporations in Wales where it explores themes like cultural sensitivity, poverty, and the media.

The course aims to increase peoples’ responsibility to the world and each other with kindness and compassion.

Now, Ms Fitt hopes to embrace her significant birthday - having found it difficult to deal with following her twin’s death.

She said: “Being an identical twin is hard to articulate - from the moment you enter the world you have someone who just inherently understands you but its more than that - they understand you with the same mind and through the same eyes.

“This gives you a sense of confidence, but also something special - unwavering solidarity with complete empathy.

“Of course, it’s fun looking exactly alike too.

“It’s a very present thing in a twin relationship about who might die first.

“It might be unsaid or said out loud, but it’s definitely there.

“Although it’s irrational, you have been born together so you take it for granted that one of you will go first.”

Growing up they had beach fires in The Knap with family and close friends.

As they got older, they would have parties, but also a special evening at the beach - food, family, friends, fire.

She said: “Since Lucy died, I haven’t celebrated my birthday.

"It’s the hardest day of the year.

“It’s our birthday together, not just mine, so it just exposes all of those really difficult feelings of being without her.

“The SAFE Foundation are involved in running a festival in West Wales, Blue Lagoon, each year and it always falls on the weekend closest to my birthday.

“It’s an amazing distraction because I can surround myself with beautiful friends and music in a gorgeous location, without having to think too much about the day.

“However, this year not only is it my 40th, but also there is no Blue Lagoon festival, thanks to coronavirus, so it’s definitely a reflective and emotional time.

“One of the last things Lucy asked me in this country before she set off for Zambia was 'do you think we will be running SAFE when we are 40?', so despite me trying to be calm about the year - it still has this added poignancy because of that conversation.”

The people living in the charity’s projects face many everyday challenges - hunger, disease, mental health, isolation, and discrimination.

These challenges are exacerbated in times of crisis - like the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s not new,” Ms Fitt said. “We are still adapting to life after Ebola in our Sierra Leone project.

“Imagine being terrified and grief stricken, but also having no food, no parents, no home.

“This is everyday life for many people who are not as fortunate as us here in the UK.”

She added: One thing I can do now for my birthday, which hands down gives me the most happiness, is a fundraiser for The SAFE Foundation.

“The charity is not about me or Lucy, it never was.

“It has always been about the people we support - who need that support now more than ever - so if my birthday can bring me some comfort then I would definitely like to see it happen in this way.”

Find them on Facebook - The SAFE Foundation and The SAFE Foundation Ethical Boutique; Insta: Safe_foundation and also ethical_boutique; and Twitter: @thesafefoundation

To support the fundraiser, visit https://www.thesafefoundation.co.uk/fundraisers/hannah-and-lucys-40th-birthday-fundraiser-?fbclid=IwAR13en9EDi-pcuD9o1EF0XnU-WT_dvLPtETm88XSxube59mfMePsrX0DH34​