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National Health and Wellbeing Raises More Than £15,000 for Frontline Charities

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A month-long charity campaign, which aimed to boost the nation’s health and wellbeing, has come to an end — raising a total of over £15,000 for The Ambulance Staff Charity, Police Care UK, The Fire Fighters Charity and The Air Ambulance Service.

Launched in January, the Blue Light Get Active Challenge, tasked individuals with clocking up as many miles, steps or minutes of physical activity or mindfulness exercises as they could, to raise important funds and boost morale during the national lockdown.

Leading emergency services discount provider, Blue Light Card, and wellbeing organisation Get Active, supported the challenge and offered a state-of-the-art app for participants to log their activities — which included running, cycling and yoga — and see where they ranked against others in a leader board.

A total of around 400 participants got involved by either making a donation to their chosen charity or raising funds which were then split evenly between each of the four charities.

The money raised will support the work of all four emergency services charities who provide support for all who continue to work incredibly hard to keep Britain safe especially in the wake of COVID-19.
 
Cheryl from North Wales Police was the overall winner of the challenge, logging a total of 5,318 points, including 474 miles of walking and 57 miles of running, topping the leader board.

Commenting on the achievement, Cheryl said: “In the absence of actual running events due to these strange times, it was lovely to be able to take part in these activities — the bonus is that it’s for a good cause too!’

“Being part of this challenge kept my focus on a goal — with a superb medal at the end of it.”

Tom Dalby, CEO of Blue Light Card said: “Supporting emergency service teams has always been at the heart of what we do, and even more so after we’ve seen first-hand just how hard they’ve worked to keep us safe throughout 2020 and into 2021.’

“That’s why this campaign has been extra special for us.’

“Seeing people get involved and take up the chance to get active and practice mindfulness, especially when the weather has been testing, has been so great to see, and we hope it has inspired regular active routines within the blue light community and beyond.’

“Helping to raise over £15,000 for these four very worthy causes while supporting the great work these incredible charities do for our frontline workers and families is fantastic.”

David Kelly, director at Get Active Challenges also commented: “We’re thrilled with how well our first Blue Light Card campaign has gone, inspiring our emergency services to get out and get active, especially when they are working so incredibly hard through these challenging times we’re in.’

“We are hugely grateful for the £15,000 that has already been raised for four incredible blue light charities to provide their much-needed care and support for the emergency services who need them.”

For more information, visit https://getactivechallenges.com/bluelight/

Couple’s Cambrian Way Challenge for Charity

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A daring duo of Welsh Ambulance Service staff are taking the high road and walking the length of Wales — all for charity.

Paramedic Kevin O’Connor and his Emergency Medical Technician wife Cath, based in Bargoed, are aiming to complete the epic 298-mile Cambrian Way challenge in three weeks, and have even used up their annual leave to do so.

Setting off from Cardiff Castle on 01 September they hope to reach Conwy Castle on the North Wales coast by 21 September, raising plenty of awareness and a bit of cash along the way for The Ambulance Staff Charity (TASC).

Kevin & Cath O’Connor

Kevin said: “We want to highlight the struggle all ambulance services have been going through the last four months, and support colleagues who may need help, especially on the mental health side through the months that lie ahead in this, the worst pandemic in living memory.”

Already well into a training routine of regular 15 mile walks the pair are aiming to complete between 14 and 23 miles a day depending on terrain during the challenge.

“For us, this test really starts once we get past Abergavenny and the big mountains begin,” said Kevin.

“We’re confident we’ll make the 300 miles but the middle and North are tougher — but that’s where we like to be.

“We’ll be camping most nights but will take a B&B every third or fourth night.”

Expecting to burn around 5,000 calories each a day they will be taking packets of dehydrated vegetables and plenty of pasta for their camping stove.

A loyal network of friends and colleagues will be meeting them at key points along the way to help fuel them up and provide other essential supplies.

Kevin & Cath sporting their TASC vests

Both coming from military backgrounds, the pair are no strangers to tough physical challenges, and on previous smaller treks in Scotland and the Alps, have carried up to 50lbs in weight each in their rucksacks.

This time they plan to travel a bit lighter and with the help of kind sponsor CC Accountants Ltd have been able to purchase some modern lightweight kit and a GoPro camera to help document the Mammoth trip.

“We’ll be navigating with a map and compass but we do have a GPS system as well.

“We really can’t wait to get going,” said Cath.

Kevin and Cath have set themselves a £5,000 total to reach for TASC and are well on their way to that already.

“It would be great if we could smash that total as well as raising awareness of the work and stresses ambulance staff across the UK go through every day,” said Kevin.

The revered Cambrian Way challenge involves 22,500 metres of ascent and involves the summiting of many famous peaks including Wales’ highest, Mount Snowdon.

To donate to the cause and wish the intrepid couple well, visit their Just Giving page here.