A WARRINGTON recruitment firm has raised enough money to fund 49 hours of specialist care at a hospice in memory of its beloved colleague.

The team at leading HR recruitment specialists, Gi Group, took on a cycle-a-thon to fundraise for a charity that took care of and supported their much-loved colleague Sara O’Brien who sadly died in January.

Using static bikes, for every mile cycled, the team donated £5 to the Willow Burn Hospice in County Durham which provided Sara, who worked at Gi Group’s sister company TackTMI and was based in County Durham, and her family with vital support and care.

Through their efforts, the team raised enough money to fund a nurse’s care for 49 hours at the hospice.  

Cindy Gunn, group head of people at Gi Group commented on the fundraising event, saying: “When we were planning which charity to support at our conference, we spoke to Sara’s family and they chose Willow Burn Hospice as the beneficiary, because Sara’s husband Tom said its ‘an amazing place full of fantastic people’.”

“Here at Gi Group, we don’t tend to have one specific charity we support but rather a collection of worthy causes that mean a great deal to our team.

“We feel it’s really important to play our part for a number of important charities, doing what we can to support the change they create.”

Recent research has found that, on average, hospices have increased the number of new or regained donors on their books by 59.8 per cent each year but have lost 59.6 per cent of existing givers, resulting in a constant state of stagnation.

Cindy continued: “The annual awards ceremony gave us the perfect opportunity to get teams from across the country together to cycle for charity success. We had bikes at our London, Coventry, Chesterfield and Leicester branches, plus many donation buckets.

“We will also be auctioning the static bikes within the Gi Group team to raise further funds for the Hospice, ensuring we have one last push to get as many donations as possible.”

Hospice UK reported there are over 220 hospice charities in the UK which they estimate support 300,000 people in the UK every year. This highlights the vital role of hospice care in the lives of so many people across the country, proving every donation counts.    

Rachel Quince, deputy chief executive and head of fundraising & marketing at Willow Burn Hospice, said: “It’s a common misconception that hospices are fully funded by the NHS. Our hospice receives 44 per cent of its funding from this source but for every £1 we spend, we need to raise 56p via community fundraising, retail, donations and grants.

“So, as you can imagine, it was incredibly special to receive a call from GI Group to let us know that the team would like to fundraise in memory of their colleague Sara.

“The money that Gi Group raised, will fund a full-time palliative care nurse at Willow Burn for one week this year. We can’t thank Gi Group enough for their kindness and generosity.”

The funds generated by Gi Group help to support not only the care and services of Willow Burn Hospice but also the residents. Established 30 years ago in Country Durham, the Hospice provides its services 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.