Leyland Trucks’ 125th-anniversary fundraiser secures £25,000 for cancer charities

Posted on - 2nd November, 2021 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Charities, Health, Leyland, People, South Ribble News
A fundraiser battles with an 8.5- tonne truck

A seven-week campaign led by Leyland Trucks has raised over £25,000 for local cancer charities.


Helping Hand, a non-profit organisation run by a committee of Leyland Trucks and PACCAR Parts employees launched a programme of challenges for the #StrongerTogether event.

The event replaced the annual Factory to Festival fundraiser, cancelled for a second time because of Covid-19. The money raised went to St Catherine’s Hospice, Rosemere Cancer Foundation, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support.

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Teams take on the truck pull

Event organisers aimed for a £20,000 target. It was extended to span seven weeks and commemorate Leyland Trucks’ 125th anniversary, with initiatives that benefit charities severely impacted by the pandemic.

A truck pull, supported by DAF Trucks, saw dealership teams across the country competing to heave an XF vehicle over a 125-foot course.

Festivities began with the truck pull, in which teams of six from across the Leyland Trucks site heaved an 8.5-tonne DAF XF vehicle across a course. Teams from dealerships in Derby, Aberdeen, Leeds, Ipswich, Bristol and aimed to beat the fastest Leyland score of 22.9 seconds.

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Runners take on the 12.5km

Ben Holloway, operations vehicle assembly manager for Leyland Trucks, organised the challenge.

He said: “The truck pull was designed to raise funds while doing something fun and unique. We wanted to make it inclusive for everyone so we could engage whole teams with the challenge.

“I got a taste for the challenge last year when I organised a solo truck pull and knew that we could amplify it and get lots of people across the country involved. I spoke to other people within Leyland Trucks, and together we came up with the idea of having teams of six and pulling the truck 125ft to coincide with our special anniversary.

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

Read more: Preston woman to walk Guild Wheel for homelessness charity Emmaus 

A 12.5km running and walking event took place within the Leyland area while a 125 mile-in-a-day cycling challenge covered the lanes of North Lancashire.

Community members completed sponsored doggy walks, half marathons, golf challenges, cycle routes, triathlons and more.

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

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She said the route was longer than usual, as they usually travel 10km, but to celebrate the anniversary and put everyone through their paces, they increased it to 12.5km.

Alison said: “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.

“We did not chip time for the event this year; it was about turning out to take part and support Leyland, and you could feel the community spirit at every stage of the event.

“We were supported by volunteers who created water stations along the route and were joined by the local Cub and Scout group, who had smiles on their faces throughout the whole challenge. It was all hands on deck and turned into a fantastic event – it was a real boost and just what everyone needed.”

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The event concluded with a 125-mile cycle, with 32 riders undertaking a challenging route through Preston, North Yorkshire and Garstang, starting and finishing at Leyland Trucks HQ. The event was sponsored by TRP/PACCAR Parts and organised by Helping Hand committee member Stuart Derbyshire.

Stuart, also 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 event has demonstrated everything brilliant about living in this part of the world. Leyland has rallied to take on some major challenges, remembering those we’ve sadly lost in the last 18 months.

“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.”

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Emma Jacovelli, head of community engagement at St Catherine’s Hospice, said the creativity, commitment and hard work is phenomenal.

Jacovelli said: “Not only has it raised such a wonderful total for the charities involved, but it’s also fantastic to hear how much staff across the area have enjoyed taking on a collective challenge in their own imaginative ways.

“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.”

Read more: Kirkham fundraisers to provide Christmas hampers for struggling residents

Rosemere Cancer Foundation Chief Officer Dan Hill said the charity is grateful to Helping Hand for including them.

Hill said Leyland Trucks’ donations to Rosemere now total over £30,000 and have been used for projects that have benefitted thousands of local cancer patients throughout Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Phil Jones, chairman of Helping Hand, said: “This year’s collective effort to make #StrongerTogether has been nothing short of tremendous.

“To have beaten our fundraising target by such a significant margin is a 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 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. Now, we can reflect on a successful seven weeks of community spirit and begin planning for next year’s events!”

Read more: Longridge hairdresser shaves head to honour dad undergoing cancer treatment 

Helping Hand was founded in 1994 by 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.

TRP/PACCAR Parts, MADE Profiles, Brigade Electronics, Leyland Rotary Club, Pailton Engineering, Schneider Electric Systems, Slaters Safety and Goodyear sponsored the event.

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