A team of dedicated colleagues from Burnley College are preparing to take on the gruelling White Rose Ultra Marathon to raise funds for a ‘cold cot’ for Burnley General Hospital.
The five-strong team are determined to push themselves through the pain barrier to raise £5,000 for the specialist equipment, which allows a family precious time with a baby who has been stillborn or passed away shortly after birth.
They united in their inspirational fund-raising mission after a colleague’s grandson was stillborn at 37 weeks.
David Lord, head of construction at the college, said the 100-mile White Rose Ultra – to be completed within 24 hours – would challenge the stamina and determination of the five-strong team of tutors and managers who train together at Fitness Evolution, the college’s award-winning fitness centre.
He said: “It isn’t a race for the faint-hearted but, as a team, we will support each other and we know we are running for a great cause.
"We’ve already raised funds by competing in the Chester Marathon and hope that the White Rose Ultra will help us reach our target in memory of little Alexander Stone.”
Baby Alexander, grandson of Ralph Stone, curriculum manager in the college’s Construction Division, was stillborn at Burnley General Hospital in June this year after his parents, Chris and Abby, discovered he had no heartbeat.
Caring medics ensured the devastated family were given precious time to say goodbye to Alexander in the specialist Butterfly Suite, and create memories that they could cherish while he remained in a cold cot.
David Lord added: “There is a real sense of family at Burnley College, between the staff, students and their families, so it was natural for us to rally round and support Ralph and his family at this sad time.
"Nearly 4,000 babies are stillborn in the UK each year – that’s nine each day – and providing families with the time and space to say goodbye is so important. We hope that our fund-raising will help families at the very saddest of times.”
The runners taking part from Burnley College and Themis at Burnley College are Simon Jordan, deputy principal; David Lord, head of construction; Paul Whittaker, Student Services manager; Chris McDonald and Solomon Whittaker, who are tutors within the construction department.
All experienced marathon runners, team members have already completed the Chester Marathon as part of their fund-raising effort and have previously taken part in – either individually or as a team - the London Marathon, Manchester Marathon and Blackpool Marathon, as well as the West Pennine Ultra Marathon.
To support the fund-raising appeal, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/paul-whittaker.