Helping Hand, the not for profit organisation run by a dedicated committee of Leyland Trucks and PACCAR Parts employees is excited to announce their most successful year of fundraising since the programme was started in 1994, raising an outstanding £50,000 in 2017.
Monies raised by the charity are distributed to a variety of causes throughout the year, all of which have some personal meaning for the Leyland-based workforce. In 2017 Helping Hand donated to charities such as the Rosemere Cancer foundation, St Catherine’s Hospice, Derian House Children’s Hospice, North West Air Ambulance and 26 other causes including the support of a guide dog training programme.
2017 also saw the Helping Hand team encourage the workforce to prove that fitness really does pay – by raising money for charity in a series of endurance challenges. The initiative formed part of the company’s Leyland Life Healthy Workforce programme, encouraging staff to take on a physical challenge and kick start a healthy lifestyle, all while raising money for good causes.
One such challenge saw a team of intrepid cyclists from Leyland Trucks complete the Coast to Coast cycle ride – an 84-mile trek from Bowness in Cumbria, to Wall’s End, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The 11-strong team took eight hours to finish the route and raised £5,000. Elsewhere, fellow Leyland Trucks employee Martyn Thomas completed the London marathon, with Tom Sherliker taking on the Manchester half.
As is traditional, 2018 activity begins with the annual Helping Hand charity ball, now in its 15th year. The ball, which this year took place at Park Hall in Chorley, was attended by around 230 people, including long-term company suppliers, staff and senior management.
In addition to dinner, dancing and entertainment from local group, the Simon Faulkener Band, guests were encouraged to buy raffle tickets and bid for auction prizes such as golf days, theatre tickets and hotel breaks on the night.
Speaking of the event, new Helping Hand chairman Matt Kersey said: “As always we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who makes the charity ball possible, our tireless organisers, suppliers, staff and all who donates prizes. We’re hoping that the great success of this event will mark another fantastic year for Helping Hand. It’s such a great programme, not only in its ability to raise money for worthwhile causes, but also in bringing together the local community to support those in need.”
On November 16th, Leyland Trucks Charity, Helping Hand, attended a “Supporter Celebration” at North West Air Ambulance for their long standing support.
The North West Air Ambulance charity is a helicopter emergency medical service, which rapidly deploys life-saving emergency treatment to the scene of incidents throughout the entire North West region seven days a week, 365 days a year. This life saving service covers 5,500 square miles and a residential population of almost eight million people.
A small token given to supporters as recognition.
On Saturday 17th June, in the blazing 30°C heat – the hottest day of the year so far – eleven of Leyland Trucks’ employee’s, along with a much appreciated support team, set off on the 2017 Coast to Coast cycling challenge from Cumbria’s Bowness to Walls End, Newcastle on Tyne – all in aid of Helping Hand.
The course was a gruelling distance of 83 miles long and the team had set themselves the target of achieving this in a maximum of 8 hours.
Throughout the west-to-east journey, the sun shone down on the cyclist’s right-hand side, catching out a minority who didn’t apply their SPF 50 lotion adequately! After the gentle roll through the flat lands of Carlisle, the picturesque sights of Hadrian ’s Wall and the rolling hills through Northumberland’s National Park spirits were lifted in amongst a couple of never-ending 15% gradient climbs half way into the ride. The green surroundings of the countryside quickly turned into the hustle and bustle of a major city centre (Newcastle on a Saturday afternoon) at about 65 miles into the trek which meant that cars, pedestrians (some of them after a few bottles of Brown Ale) and famous bridges over the Tyne (without fog) became the hazards. In the last few miles, the sound of seagulls was welcomed as the second coast of the day came into view.
There were no major incidents (if you don’t include the sunburn) or any notable mechanical failures which is a credit to everyone’s preparation for the event.
Most of the guys clocked around the 6 hour mark - all started together and all finished together.
A well-deserved glass of bubbly at the finish line topped off a fantastic day of cycling.
Twenty-two of Leyland Trucks top suppliers and their guests came together and raised an outstanding amount of over £12,000 on the most memorable night of the year ‘The Annual Charity Dinner’!
This year’s theme took place around the Mad Hatters Tea Party. Crazy, wacky and fun decorations formed an array of miss-matching colours splashed around the room, to add to what was going to be the start of a fantastic fund raising night for Helping Hand Charity.
As the guests entered the crazy world of Mad Hatter, a welcoming glass of prosecco tantalised their taste buds ready for the night’s event. Also, included this year on each supplier tables were an extra little treat of ‘Eat Me’ sweetie delights and a ‘Drink Me’ bottle of fizz to show off the theme to its full potential.
To kick start the evening ‘Neale Handley’ (Chairman of the Helping Hand) welcomed some familiar and new faces. Neale spoke about some of the great achievements Helping Hand have done over the past year and how this evening (every year) helps raise considerable amounts for the Charity.
With so much to do in such a short space of time the meal commenced. Promptly afterwards the fun and games started with two games in particular ‘Reverse Bingo' and 'Heads & Tails‘ which are always a favourite at the Charity Dinner and it just wouldn’t be the same without them, this year’s lucky winners both bagged themselves an iPad Mini each… without a doubt two fun games to get everyone in the swing of things.
Now for the serious stuff... the Auction! This has to be our main fundraiser of the night which was energetically orchestrated by Peter Jukes, with a new ‘roving reporter’ type approach. A head to head battle of who can win the final bid of some excellent items – BTCC, Little Mix tickets, Cookery Course at Northcote and a signed Liverpool shirt to name a few. All the items were kindly donated by our table hosts; and their generosity each year is phenomenal.
Running along smoothly in the background we held a Silent Auction, a few of the items donated were Supercar Driving blast experience, round of golf for four and a signed Steven Gerrard picture.
Our final fundraiser of the night was the raffle, a selection of interesting prizes were won from a notepad and pen to a 45`` TV and not forgetting the prize which a few of the Helping Hand committee members wanted to win… the cuddly toy!
With the fun and games coming to a close and everyone raring for a dance or keen to queue for a pose or two on the always popular photo booth. Neale Handley closed the evening with a special thanks to suppliers, guests, committee members, Park Hall Staff and introduced the entertainment for the evening ‘The Cave’ a Mumford & Sons-styled Classics Band. Before we knew it, the dance floor was roaring with a lot of dance enthusiasts (you know who you are), which carried on until the early hours.
A truly marvellous evening... but one thing we will never forget is the purpose of the evening - our main goal - to raise as much money as possible for worthy causes!
Towards the end of 2016, Helping Hand decided to help the Guide Dogs Association by naming a guide dog puppy and helping this puppy through the first stages of its all-important training. The winning name - Comet - was decided upon by Leyland Trucks’ employees following a naming competition.
We are delighted to announce that Comet was born on the 9th December, along with his four siblings! Comet has already been placed with his Puppy Walker who will start to teach him the skills he’ll need as a future guide dog. By 10 months, depending upon the progress made and his general maturity, he’ll start his advanced training, and in as little as 18 months, Comet could be a fully trained guide dog – helping someone to live the life they want to lead.
Helping Hand were delighted to be able to help The Guide Dogs Association with this donation and support the fantastic work they do around the UK. There are currently over 4,950 UK guide dog owners; and every hour, another person in the UK goes blind, meaning the demand for guide dogs never waivers.
Good luck to Comet throughout his training and career!
2016 has been a record-breaking year for Helping Hand, with the charity donating almost £50,000 to over 40 charities, organisations and causes; most of them local to the Leyland and Chorley area.
The bumper year culminated in a cheque presentation at the Leyland Trucks’ annual Christmas Dinner to just some of the charities and causes helped this year. Helping Hand’s Chairman Neale Handley proudly presented cheques to:
Speaking about the success of 2016, Neale commented “It’s been an amazing year for Helping Hand. The committee and I are very grateful for all the support we receive from the Leyland Trucks’ team and local contributors, without which we’d never be able to help so many worthy causes. 2016 has been a milestone year in so many ways; we’ve seen some really imaginative fundraising as well as meeting some incredibly inspirational people along the way.”
Read more about Helping Hand’s work on the Blog.
On a wet and windy November weekend, two of Leyland’s Senior Managers undertook a brave – and incredibly fast – challenge to raise money for Helping Hand. Neale Handley and Peter Jukes were sponsored at the Helping Hand charity dinner back in March to complete “Velocity” - the fastest zip line in the world and the longest in Europe. Located at Zip World in Bethesda, North Wales, this zip line descends over a quarry lake, often reaching speeds well in excess of 100mph! Watch their experience in the personalised video below.
To date, this challenge has raised over £1000 for Helping Hand, with more money rolling in to add to this total. Proceeds from this event will go directly to the Meningitis Research Foundation. This organisation is involved in supporting a remarkable young lady from Leyland - Sofia Crockatt and her story can be found on the Meningitis Research Foundation website
Helping Hand is dedicated to helping local causes…and this one certainly caught our attention. Five lads from Leyland embarked upon a marathon row which saw them use one single rowing machine to row over 20 marathons in 72 hours. That’s the equivalent of rowing from Leyland to Paris!
Helping Hand has once again pledged to support a vital local community project, the Leyland Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
Working with MedEquip4Kids, a children’s charity which works to provide equipment and facilities in hospitals, Helping Hand is supporting the Leyland CAMHS project, which provides support and treatment for vulnerable children and young people who are suffering with mental health problems.
The Helping Hand donation of £1,300 will provide additional resources, toys and reference materials to the CAMHS unit, including: reference books for parents, stress toys and games, mood cards to help with communication and diagnostic kits to help staff provide the correct support.
Speaking of the donation, Neale Handley, Helping Hand Chairman commented: “This kind of activity is precisely what the committee and all those involved with Helping Hand are working towards. Enabling the Leyland CAMHS unit to benefit from resources which would not otherwise be available, will help improve the mental health and wellbeing of so many in our community and we are delighted to be able to help.”
MedEquip4Kids Chief Executive Ghazala Baig said: “We are very grateful to Leyland Trucks Helping Hand for their generous donation. The work we do ensures children have better access to services and tools that will greatly enhance their quality of life, so every donation we receive makes a significant difference.”
Image 1: Debbie Bird, Charlotte Howarth, Tracey Hartley-Smith and Zoe Yurek, CAMHS Practitioners at Leyland CAMHS with Neale Handley, Helping Hand Chairman, Leyland Trucks
Image 2: Tracey Hartley-Smith, CAMHS Practitioner at Leyland CAMHS with Neale Handley, Helping Hand Chairman, Leyland Trucks
Last weekend, a brave team from Leyland Trucks and Conlon set off to conquer the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge. Despite the wet, windy and muddy conditions, the team completed the 26 mile challenge in 11 hours. The challenge saw them climbing a total of 7000ft - a brave feat in any conditions but given the bad weather this really was a heroic effort!
Helping Hand received £400 from the challenge, which will be donated to St Catherine's Hospice. Conlon are donating their sponsorship money to Emmaus UK - a homelessness charity with a difference.
Well done to everyone involved!