Supporting charity partners during a pandemic
Following several nominations Parkinson’s UK was named the Fowler Welch Charity of the Year 2020.
When Charity gets Personal
Fundraising during a global pandemic presents more than a few challenges, but this wasn’t enough to put off a very determined Pat Newton from raising funds for a charity which really is close to her heart. Pat, who was diagnosed with the idiopathic strain of Parkinson’s in 2016, set about organising a calendar of fundraising events. Sadly, as most of these were large-scale national events, they were cancelled, and Pat had to go back to the drawing board to rethink her plans.
As a member of the Parkinson’s UK support pages on social media, she saw an article called “Time to get active for Parkinson’s” – with all other fundraising opportunities side-lined, she knew she just had to take part.
The event offered up 3 options to help get people active and raise much needed funds for the charity; a cycle ride, a walking challenge, or people could design their own challenge to complete based on their ability.
Pat decided to take on the cycling event which would see her bike over 200 miles across the month.
The dates were set as September 1st-30th, but with bad weather forecast for the end of the month, Pat pushed herself to complete the challenge in just 18 days, taking a combined total of 21 hours and 13 minutes to cycle 322.88km.
“The toughest part was making sure I had the energy (and daylight) to complete my planned miles each day. I knew the only way to get it done would be to bike to and from work each day. I had to get the miles in early so that I was biking in safe conditions, making sure I stayed off the main roads where possible.”Pat Newton
Emma’s Ultimate Step Challenge
Not content with cycling 54 miles in local cycling event, Bourne CiCLE, in August; completing the Grantham Newtons Fraction Half Marathon a mere week later and then running the London Parks Half Marathon in October (with additional training through the year!), 2020 held a greater challenge for charity champion, Emma Shorrock.
What started out as a musing ‘is it possible?’, became a personal challenge when Emma pledged to walk at least 10,000 steps a day, EVERY DAY, come rain, hail, snow and sunshine, not just for a month, but for the whole year.
A Real Team Effort for January
While many people began the New Year in a post-turkey glut, Emma started the challenge on New Year’s Day in Cologne, taking part in an organised Park Run. What a great way to start the year! Emma was supported through January by a number of colleagues across Fowler Welch who were taking part in the monthly 10,000 steps challenge to get moving through a notoriously difficult month. As February approached, Emma was 31 days into the challenge with 492,658 steps under her belt, but WASN’T the winner of the monthly challenge – that accolade went to Simon Deykin (Business System Support Analyst) who reached an incredible 692,487 steps in the month, topping 63,721 in a single day.
31 days down, 335 to go…
335 still to go, it was, after all, a leap year! February brought its own challenges. With a snowboarding holiday already booked, Emma had to find inventive ways to making sure she hit her daily target before hitting the slopes. Travel days were arguably the hardest, spending days at a time on coaches and in airports, other passengers were certainly intrigued by her, as she walked the equivalent of 5 miles at a time doing laps of airport lounges.
Challenges of a National Lockdown
So to March, and the start of the imposed lockdown in the UK. Being allowed to venture outside only once a day for exercise meant that every step really would count. As the Company implemented measures to safeguard colleagues across the business and adhere to Government guidelines, Emma was asked to work remotely. This meant before sitting down to her new home workstation every morning, she would need to run 4 miles to hit her daily target. After all, there’s only so many times you can walk up and down the stairs.
Not the Amsterdam Marathon…
With colleagues joining in with monthly challenges again in April and July, combined with longer days and warmer weather, the challenge became easier as the summer months brought with them an ease in Government restrictions on outdoor excursions. Hoping to run the Amsterdam Marathon in October, Emma’s training increased, and the 10,000 steps were soon a distant memory, often exceeding double the initial target.
Sadly, as the world was still finding ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the event in Amsterdam was cancelled. Undeterred, Emma and partner John decided to run their own event, “Not the Amsterdam Marathon”, through the country roads near their home. They were joined by fellow Fowler Welch colleague and reigning monthly step challenge champion, Simon Deykin.
As the Country headed once again into a National lockdown, nights drew in, the warmer weather was long forgotten and Emma was down to the final 2 months of her challenge. With training for the marathon also over, it became more of a chore to complete the daily 10,000 steps but incredibly, and in line with her promise “come rain, hail or snow” (all of which were encountered) Emma completed the challenge and on New Year’s Day took a well earned break – although still walked over 10,000 steps!
So far, Pat & Emma have raised over £2,000 and donations are still coming in. If you would like to make a donation, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send details of how to make a safe and secure donation.
Support Beyond Fundraising
With so many fundraising events cancelled, we had to think outside of the box in order to support our nominated charity.
Having contacted the team at Parkinson’s UK, they were struggling with fundraising but also having sufficient PPE and sanitisers to allow their workers and volunteers to continue to provide their support services safely, taking all appropriate precautions. Having procured face masks, hand sanitiser and gloves for colleagues we were in a great position to help, donating some of our stocks to Parkinson’s UK for them to use across their network.
While this support was gratefully received, fundraising to support the charity is still high on our agenda, and with this in mind, Fowler Welch will continue to support Parkinson’s UK through 2021, where we hope normal activities and group events can return.
If you have a fundraising event in mind or would like to get involved e-mail email@example.com