Loss of colleague inspires British Gas staff to support hospice

Staff from British Gas who will be taking part in the Starlight Hike for Sue Ryder Wheatfield's Hospice (left to right)  Ina Buckley, Gary Birth , Chris Rowley, Jeni Bolt and Sarah Hagarty. Picture by Steve Riding.
Staff from British Gas who will be taking part in the Starlight Hike for Sue Ryder Wheatfield's Hospice (left to right) Ina Buckley, Gary Birth , Chris Rowley, Jeni Bolt and Sarah Hagarty. Picture by Steve Riding.
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British Gas workers have pledged to take part in a night-time fundraising walk in memory of a lost loved one.

Five workers from the firm’s energy efficiency department, based in Leeds, are planning to trek 10km around the Temple Newsam Estate during the Starlight Hike on September 27.

The event is hoped to raise £30,000 for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, in Headingley, which supports people with incurable illnesses.

Jeni Bolt and her team hope to raise around £100 each for the hospice in memory of a colleague who was helped by the charity.

“She was a well-loved member of the department. When she became very ill, she spent her final week at Wheatfields,” Jeni said. “She was looked after so well by everyone at the hospice and we felt we wanted to give something back.”

Most of the team have worked together for at least 18 months and they plan to stick together throughout the annual fundraising walk.

Department manager Gary Birch added: “I’m sure we’ll encourage each other and we will definitely do the distance.”

The Starlight Hike is open to all and aims to raise vital funds to go towards the Wheatfield’s costs in caring for people with serious illnesses.

Wheatfields fundraiser Georgina Abbott said: “Fundraising events such as the Starlight Hike are so important to us as they bring in much-needed funds.

“The hospice has to raise more than half the £4.8 million needed every year to provide care and services for people with incurable illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.”

The event opens at 8.30pm before the walk from 10pm to midnight. Entry is £15 for adults or free for under 16s.

Visit www.sueryder.org/StarlightHike to register for the event.

Dean Johnstone, chief executive of Minds Ahead and joint leader of the centre of excellence in Leeds.

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