Leyland Trucks staff hit the road to help cancer charities in Lancashire

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Leyland Trucks staff got revved up to raise cash for cancer charities hit by the pandemic.

The annual Helping Hand #Stronger Together challenge saw workers hit the road to collect £25,000 in just seven weeks to commemorate the company's 125th anniversary.

A truck pull, a 12.5K running and walking event, a 125-mile-in-a-day cycling challenge and various other sponsored events topped the target by £5,000.

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“This year’s collective effort to make #StrongerTogether a very special event has been nothing short of tremendous," said Phil Jones, chairman of the Helping Hand charity.

Teams compete in the truck pull challenge.Teams compete in the truck pull challenge.
Teams compete in the truck pull challenge.

"To have beaten our fundraising target by such a significant margin is testament to the hard work of everyone involved – sponsors, volunteers, participants and supporters.

“We may well have been through a collective storm in the pandemic, but everyone recognises there are people out there who have suffered more significantly, and who need our help to continue their hard work.

"We’re very proud to now be able to hand over such substantial amounts to charities in the local area and thank them for the immeasurable difference they have made and continue to make to our loved ones."

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Helping Hand was founded in 1994 by a group of enthusiastic Leyland Trucks and PACCAR PARTS workers who wanted to help disadvantaged employees and local causes. To-date, the charity has raised more than £1million.

Leyland Trucks workers set off on the 12.5K run/walk.Leyland Trucks workers set off on the 12.5K run/walk.
Leyland Trucks workers set off on the 12.5K run/walk.

The charities to benefit this year were St Catherine’s Hospice, Rosemere Cancer Foundation, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The challenge began with the truck pull, which teams of six from across the Leyland Trucks site heaved an 8.5-tonne DAF XF vehicle across a set course. Teams from other DAF dealerships in Derby, Aberdeen, Leeds, Ipswich, Bristol and more, then emulated the challenge, aiming to beat the fastest Leyland team’s score of 22.9 seconds.

Ben Holloway, operations vehicle assembly manager for Leyland Trucks, who organised the challenge said: “The truck pull was designed to raise funds while doing something fun and unique. Importantly, we wanted to make it inclusive for everyone so we could engage whole teams with the challenge.

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“The event was really well received, it’s been a lot of fun, brought out some healthy competition between dealerships and raised more than £10,000 towards our total fundraising goal.”

Alison Evans is a retail manager at St Catherine’s Hospice and head coach at Revolution Running and was integral to organising the 12.5km running and walking event.

She said: “The route for our event was longer than usual – we normally travel 10km, but to celebrate Leyland Trucks’ 125-year anniversary and put everyone through their paces, we increased the route to 12.5km.

“We were overwhelmed with the turnout. After such a difficult 18 months we thought we might struggle to get a big crowd, but more than 130 people turned out to take part.

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“It was all hands on deck and turned into a fantastic event – it was a real boost, and just what everyone needed.”

The #StrongerTogether event concluded with a 125-mile cycle ride, which saw 32 riders take on a challenging route through Preston, North Yorkshire and into Garstang, starting and finishing at Leyland Trucks HQ.

Organiser Stuart Derbyshire, the Leyland Trucks’ prototype manager, said: “This year’s charity cycle went above and beyond anything we have attempted before as part of Helping Hand’s fundraising activities, but everyone enjoyed the day and it was a true community effort.

“The entire #StrongerTogether event has demonstrated everything that is brilliant about living in this part of the world. Leyland has really rallied to take on some major challenges, remembering those we’ve sadly lost in the last 18 months.

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"It’s been brilliant to see everybody so excited to be back together, reflecting on what we’ve all faced but also eager to look ahead to the future. I can’t thank everybody enough for their hard work to make this year’s event a real success.”

Emma Jacovelli, head of community engagement at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “The creativity, commitment and hard work that has gone into this campaign is once again phenomenal.

“We are so grateful to Helping Hand for choosing us as one of the charities to benefit. The proceeds will fund our care at the hospice and in people’s own homes – helping local people and their families enjoy precious time together in comfort, with dignity, independence and choice.”

Dan Hill, Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s chief officer, said: “Over the years, we have received great support from Leyland Trucks. Its donations to us now total over £30,000 and have been put towards a variety of great projects, which have benefited thousands of local cancer patients from throughout Lancashire and South Cumbria, proving that we are #StrongerTogether when it comes to working for the greater good of our community.”

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