A 20-strong group of slimmers are on course to hit the double in a fundraising campaign to deliver a respite caravan for young carers by April 2.
EuroMillions lottery winner Frances Connolly, spearheading the PFC Trust-led campaign, has already achieved her personal goal by losing 26lbs with four weeks to spare in UChangesLives25.
Footprints nursery pair Sharon Birch and Vivienne Dempsey, the manager of Eastern Ravens Young Carers’ Tracey Hamilton and 15 Covid-19 fighting nurses at South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust are among those taking part.
There are also other members of the PFC Trust and its sister charity in Northern Ireland, The Kathleen Graham Trust, joining in and the slimmers have collectively lost a combined 172lb between them so far.
In doing so the women have raised more than £10,000 towards the £50,000 target and have until April 2 for that to increase even further – and they are all motivating each in their own WhatsApp group.
Mrs Connolly, who is renowned for her generosity towards good causes with husband Patrick, said: “We chat every day in there, sending photos to each other and we do a piiates class online every Thursday with Lucinda Stott fitness. It’s fab.
“I am really pleased to have reached my target already, swimming regularly has helped, and I just want everyone to keep going so we get this caravan for the young carers.”
A series of events since the campaign started on January 4 has seen more than 60 groups and individuals ensure that UChangeLives25 is already more than halfway to hitting the £50,000 mark.
But the PFC Trust and Mrs Connolly want everyone to keep going, knowing how much unpaid work young carers put in every week. That has more than tripled on average during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mrs Connolly said: “This is an absolutely worthy cause. This caravan will give the little kiddies a break from something that is almost inconceivable to people.
“The £50 000 divided across the life of the caravan (ten years) is about £95 a week or £14 per day to give a hard working unpaid young person a much deserved break.
“This lockdown has felt so much more oppressive, although it is feeling a little lighter now with the vaccination roll out. When it started in January it felt so much more oppressive this time round, so it seemed a good idea to try to lift people’s spirits by giving them a worthy cause to get behind.
“We thought that maybe by focusing on something outside of yourself, it would stop people feeling as deflated. If you do something for someone else it gives you such a lift – and we all just want to help these young carers.”
* To join Frances Connolly and the rest of the slimmers in raising money email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, donations can be made at justgiving.com/pfctrust or text UC25PFC 3 to 70085 (you can donate any amount by changing the number 3). Texts cost one standard rate message plus cost of donation.
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