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Wansbeck A&E lads’ walk raises £4,500 for children

Thursday, 12 February, 2015
Wansbeck A&E lads’ walk raises £4,500 for children

A group of A&E staff at Wansbeck General Hospital have raised £4,500 to help children and families by walking 120 miles.

The group, known as the A&E calendar lads following the success of their 2014 naked calendar to raise awareness of testicular cancer, raised the money for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Bright charity and the NSPCC.

They walked from Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle to Wansbeck General Hospital in Ashington in September last year, stopping off at Haltwhistle War Memorial Hospital and Hexham and North Tyneside general hospitals along the way.

The 10-strong team, including domestic staff, healthcare assistants, senior nurses, doctors and A&E consultants, tackled some of the area’s wildest terrains on the walk and camped out overnight.

The group also held a number of tombolas to raise the money which has been split equally between the two charities.

Craig Leathard, charge nurse at Wansbeck hospital, who lives in Ashington, led the walk which involved weeks of training and was the driving force behind the calendar.

He said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been able to raise so much money for Bright and the NSPCC to help local children and families who are experiencing difficult times. 

“The walk was a tough physical challenge for all of us, however, greatly enjoyed and certainly very different to our charity calendar.

“Working in A&E we all see families who could benefit from a little help so we’re pleased that our efforts will go some way to supporting them.

“It was fitting that we started at the Cumberland Infirmary, as increasingly we’re working more closely with our colleagues in North Cumbria.”

Bright works hard to provide the extras that are not usually funded by the NHS and the NSPCC aims to make a difference to all children.

Brenda Longstaff, head of charity development and volunteering at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We would like to pay tribute to our A&E lads for their amazing efforts in completing the gruelling challenge and for raising such a fantastic amount for our charity.

“Bright aims to ensure patients of all ages – from babies and children to our most elderly patients – have the best experience possible and this money will towards our work across Northumberland and North Tyneside.”

Nihad Cehic, NSPCC community fundraising manager for the North East, said: “I would like to thank the A&E lads for all their hard work and commitment in raising this amazing amount of money for the NSPCC.

“The vast majority of our funding comes from fundraising activities like this so their efforts really will make a difference. Our services help and protect vulnerable children, young people and their families here in the North East and across the UK and we couldn’t continue without fundraisers’ support.”

Last year’s calendar raised more than £4,000 for Bright and male cancer charity Orchid.

As it works towards acquisition, Northumbria Healthcare is working closely with North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which manages Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, to deliver improvements as part of an official ‘buddy’ arrangement.