Rowcroft Hospice staff and volunteers have been bowled over by the goodwill and marathon efforts shown by the local community.
Rowcroft Hospice say they could not be prouder of 83-year-old Brian Cort who completed a heroic rowing marathon of 26.2 miles on his home rowing machine in Torquay on Friday 1 May, raising more than £1,140 for the charity.
“While staying at home during the COVID-19 epidemic, I have been exercising in the garage on my indoor rowing machine,” says Brian. “I wanted to give myself a challenge, and so thought I would row a marathon!”
The money raised by Brian could not have come at a better time for the charity: Rowcroft’s income has been hit badly by the closure of its shops and the suspension of fundraising events, yet due to the COVID-19 pandemic, end-of-life care is more important than ever, especially in Torbay where the age of the local population is well above the national average. Rowcroft’s nurses, doctors and careworkers on the frontline are caring for vulnerable patients in their homes across Torbay and within Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit in Torquay.
Brian is just one of Rowcroft’s fantastic fundraising heroes across Torbay. Other fundraising champions include: four-year-old Flynn who ran 2.4 km around his local park and raised over £400; and Oscar Medworth, aged 11, who shaved off all his hair and raised over £1500 for Paignton Zoo and Rowcroft. Oscar has the rare medical conditions of type 1 diabetes and autism, which made the challenge all the more difficult for him.
“When you have autism, sensory issues are a very real struggle,” explains Oscar’s mum Claire. “We were talking about how charities were suffering, because their usual events were not taking place because of the Coronavirus lockdown. He wanted to raise some money and thought that he could perhaps shave his head!”
Local businesses have been rallying too, to show their support, such as Cheesy Cheesecakes of Torquay who recently donated 20 individual cheesecakes to Rowcroft Hospice care teams working at the Inpatient Unit.
“It is through the darkest of times, that our community’s spirit shines the brightest,” says Alison Upton, Rowcroft’s Community Fundraising Manager. “I have been dazzled by all the messages of solidarity and support coming from all corners of South Devon. Many people were asking what they could do to help our doctors, nurses and careworkers on the frontline. That’s why we set up our Front Room Fundraising page on Facebook, so that people can safely raise money from home, and they can share stories, photos and videos of their fabulous fundraising efforts.
“The idea is to bring our community together again — to unite people for a great cause, and to have a little fun along the way. People can choose for themselves what they do to fundraise from home — whether it’s holding a virtual coffee morning, participating in an online quiz, or running a marathon around a garden.
“I have been so inspired and humbled by the creative and novel ways in which our community is supporting us. I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who is helping us during these tough times.
“If you would like to support us, in whatever way you can, please do get in contact as we would love to hear from you.”
For further information about how you can get involved in Rowcroft’s Front Room Fundraising, please see: www.rowcrofthospice.org.uk/front-room-fundraising or call Rowcroft Hospice’s Fundraising Team on 01803 210835.
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