Going the extra mile for Sport Relief

NHS and Blackpool FC Community Trust staff

People working at the home of Blackpool Football Club have been challenged to walk or run 2020 laps of the Bloomfield Road pitch over 24 hours in the name of Sport Relief.

Hundreds of NHS and Blackpool FC Community Trust staff based at offices in the football club have been invited to take part in the challenge on Thursday and Friday, 12 and 13 March, which could see the group complete around 410 miles.

The event will run from noon to noon, with staff volunteering to walk in shifts to cover the whole 24-hour period, some of which will be through the night.

NHS and Blackpool FC Community Trust staffNHS staff taking part will include those from NHS Blackpool and NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the organisations that plan and buy health services on the Fylde Coast, as well as community staff from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who work in offices at the stadium.

Dr Ben Butler-Reid, a Blackpool GP and clinical director for the two CCGs, has pledged to run laps of the pitch through the night.

He said: “When this idea was suggested to me I just thought it was fantastic and I was really keen to get involved.

“It will be a late night but it is well worth it and I’m calling on my colleagues in the NHS to make sure I don’t get lonely in those late hours!”

Marc Joseph, head of early years and primary programmes from Blackpool FC Community Trust, said: “Our work is all about improving the overall health and wellbeing of our local communitiy through a variety of educational and physical activities.

“This challenge is a great way to highlight the importance of keeping active. Just by walking one lap of our pitch, people will have contributed to their daily amount of physical activity and raised some money for a great cause.”

CCG commissioning manager Amanda Lomas came up with the idea as she was keen to raise money for a good cause while keeping people active.

She said: “Our staff have always been keen to support charitable causes and have raised thousands of pounds for charity over the past few years.

“Getting out walking and talking with colleagues is great for our health and wellbeing, not just physical but mental as well.

“And if we can raise some money for charity at the same time it will be even more worthwhile.”

The challenge comes two years after BBC presenter Zoe Ball came to Blackpool for a Sport Relief challenge of her own, cycling 350 miles from the resort to Brighton.

Mrs Lomas added: “While we might not get to the £1.1million Zoe Ball raised, hopefully we can bring in a good amount.

“I’d like to call on the local people of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre to support their NHS staff in this challenge and donate at https://justgiving.com/fundraising/fcccgs-sport-relief.”