Staff at Leyland Trucks have raised an incredible £11,000 for local causes as their one-off Factory to Festival (F2F) Miles Better Together fundraising event rallies the support of the entire factory.
The fortnight-long, safe and socially distanced fundraising event organised by Leyland Trucks’ Helping Hand charity committee saw employees, together with their families and friends, lace up or saddle up during a series of walking, running and cycling challenges.
Making full use of the beautiful weather of late, staff members took to the streets of Lancashire to add as many miles as physically possible to the Miles Better Together total. Having initially set themselves a target of 2,800 miles – the distance between Leyland Trucks and its main European operations in Eindhoven, Netherlands – the final total reached 9,400 miles covered.
Leyland Trucks prototype manager and Helping Hand committee member, Stuart Derbyshire, said: “The factory’s annual summer shut down presented us with the opportunity to push forward with our charitable agenda in a safe way. At a time when local causes need our help more than ever, I’m truly in awe at what we have achieved together with the incredible generosity of all our sponsors.
“Every single mile covered meant so much to all those involved and its events like this that demonstrate how through adversity and a global pandemic, local people are still determined to rally together for the benefit of those less fortunate.
“We hand-selected which charities would benefit from the Miles Better Together event by focusing on those that had worked so tirelessly to deliver vital frontline and care services throughout COVID-19. St Catherine’s Hospice will always have a special place in our hearts as their services touch the lives of so many local people, including many of the Leyland Trucks team, and we’re proud to have gone beyond lip service to help make a fundamental difference to them as well as The Ambulance Service Charity and other NHS front line charities.”
The unique set up featured a range of different challenges that included a special running event held by Revolution Running Club, 100-mile triathlons, half and full marathons, Leyland to Lytham cycling challenge, coast-to-coast cycling journeys, a pensioners’ walking club with Leyland Rotary, a special 24-hour walking challenge from Kendal to Preston that totalled 58 miles, sprint sessions at CrossFit Leyland, together with family walks and cycle rides.
One stand-out moment of the fortnight saw Leyland Trucks lead engineer, Ben Holloway, display strength, stamina and determination by successfully pulling a 7.5 tonne DAF LF truck for a total of 1.3km.
Ben said: “Whilst not the longest of challenges, it was definitely the slowest and heaviest distance of the fortnight! Getting the truck to start moving was relatively easy but it’s as your heart rate spikes and the lactic acid in your legs kicks in where it truly becomes tough. The 1.3km total was a real achievement, especially when all the gyms have been closed and my normal training regime had come to an abrupt stop, so having my colleagues there to spur me on made all the difference.”
Nine-year-old James Woodhouse, whose father works at Leyland Trucks, also helped to raise £2,350 of the £11,000 total. Awarded the title of Young Fundraiser of the Year 2019 for raising £950 for last year’s Leyland Trucks charity event, the boy from Clayton-le-Woods rallied his friends, family, schoolmates, parents and teachers to achieve this incredible contribution whilst also cycling the Preston Guild Wheel twice in two consecutive days.
F2F Miles Better Together also attracted the support of several corporate sponsors, with Schneider Electric, Made Profiles, Pailton Engineering, Brigade Electronics, KP Industries, Atlas Copco, OfficeTeam, Essential Industrial Services, South Ribble Borough Council and Leyland Rotary each pledging a donation that totalled £5900.
Greg Fearn from sponsor Schneider Electric said: “What the Leyland Trucks team have achieved is truly remarkable, as fundraising with the backdrop of the pandemic has been no mean feat. We have a long history with the business and our decision to sponsor such an important event which holds even greater significance in light of current circumstances was an easy one, especially knowing that our donation will go towards supporting those who are most in need.”
Emma Jacovelli, head of community engagement at St Catherine’s, said: “With this latest feat, Leyland Trucks has once again shown themselves to be wonderful supporters of the hospice. We’re so grateful to everyone who took part in this fantastic challenge, and to all those who so generously supported them with sponsorship. Special thanks must go to Ben and James for their incredible efforts – we’re so impressed with what they achieved!
“Support from local businesses like Leyland Trucks has never been more important. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on many of the ways we rely on to raise funds – from the closure of our shops and cafe to the cancellation of our popular events. The proceeds from the F2F Miles Better Together campaign will really make a huge difference to St Catherine’s and the patients and families we care for at this difficult time.”