Grandad's Covid death inspires year of Leeds Hospitals Charity fundraising in thanks to NHS staff

When Steph Liversidge's grandad died after contracting Covid-19, she knew she wanted to do something to thank the "incredible" Leeds hospital staff who were by his side.

By Georgina Morris
Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 6:00 am

Peter Liversidge, 83, had been treated by medics at St James's University Hospital - part of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust - before his death in November.

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So signing up to become a Hospital Hero for the trust's dedicated charity seemed like the perfect way for Steph to show her appreciation for all they had done for her family.

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Steph Liversidge out on one of her runs during the recent snowy weather.

Born in Leeds but now living more than 80 miles away Durham, Steph said she had found it hard being away from her family during her grandad's illness.

"The nature of coronavirus is so inhumane, the fact I couldn’t see my grandad, or be there to support my nan, dad and the rest of my family was so hard," she said.

"The staff at St James’s were incredible. They gave my family updates on how grandad was doing two to three times a day; they were so caring and reassuring despite the immense pressure they must have been under."

The Hospital Heroes initiative, set up last year by Leeds Hospitals Charity, asks supporters to pledge to raise £1,000 during the course of a year.

The Yorkshire Evening Post's Help Your Hospitals campaign asks readers to consider becoming regular donors to the Leeds Hospitals Charity.

To kick off her year of fundraising, Steph decided to run 100 miles throughout January - a task she completed despite the snow and icy conditions experienced in recent weeks.

She said knowing that her grandad would be cheering her on had helped to keep her going, adding: “Grandad was determined and fought as hard as he could against coronavirus but in the end his body was just too weak to carry on.

"I wanted to channel the strength he showed, by getting up every day and pushing myself to run, whether it was 5k or 10k."

Her perseverance in seeing through the challenge to reach 100 miles paid off and she has already raised more than £1,000 to support the charity's efforts via her JustGiving page.

Peter Liversidge died at St James's University Hospital in Leeds last year after contracting Covid-19.

Leeds Hospitals Charity, the trust's dedicated charity, provides an average of £5m each year towards equipment, services, education and research.

With more regular donors, it would be able to do even more to back projects that the NHS does not fund but which have the potential to do so much good for hospital staff and patients.

It is why the Yorkshire Evening Post is asking readers to back the Help Your Hospitals campaign by becoming a friend of the charity and helping to raise an additional £3m during 2021.

Text FRIEND to 70660 to donate £5 a month or visit leedshospitalscharity.org.uk to set up a regular donation for any sum or make a one-off gift to the charity.

Steph Liversidge, left, ran 100 miles during January to kickstart a year of fundraising for Leeds Hospitals Charity in memory of her grandad Peter Liversidge.

What is Leeds Hospitals Charity?

Leeds Hospitals Charity - previously known as Leeds Cares - is the dedicated charity for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

The charity works closely with the team of more than 18,000 people who work at our local hospitals to support projects that the NHS does not fund, helping to relieve pressure on staff and make a real difference to the experience of patients and their families.

With the support of generous donors, it makes that valuable contribution by raising funds for equipment, services, education and research.

The charity provides support for eight areas which include Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds Children’s Hospital, Leeds Cancer Centre, St James’s University Hospital, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Seacroft Hospital, Wharfdale Hospital and Leeds Dental Institute.

It supports NHS staff working at each of those locations to deliver the best care for more than a million patients and their families each year.

Working with local communities, schools and businesses across the city and beyond, it provides an average of £5m in additional funding for the trust each year.