Cricklade friends raise £14,000 in memory of leukaemia victim
A FUNDRAISING group from Cricklade has smashed their original target by raising nearly £14,000 in memory of their friend, who died from leukaemia last year.
Wayne Wilson was 26 when he lost his battle with the disease in January 2011. Following his death, a group of friends came together with the aim of raising £2,000 to support Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
The group, known as Team Wayne, has now raised £13,500 for the charity - more than six times their original goal. Five of the members took part in the 10-mile Great South Run in Plymouth last weekend and added £1,500 to their sponsorship total.
Group leader Damien Davis said the group wanted to honour their friend’s fight against leukaemia. "Running isn’t our favourite activity, but we knew we were doing it to keep Wayne’s memory alive, which is so important to his family," he said.
Five of Wayne’s friends and family took part in Sunday’s race, including his brothers Shaun Wilson and Carl Wright, his brother-in-law Trevor Savory, and friend Kevin Giles.
Damien said he was immensely proud of the team and grateful for the support from the crowd. "Shaun watched the race last year and pledged to enter," he said. "We were all sceptical, because he was not at all sporty, but he lost three stone during training and it was a very emotional moment when he crossed the finish line.
"The race was a real family event. Our mums were cheering us on and now they are considering entering next year."
The group’s first fundraising efforts made the headlines when they attempted the Three Peaks Challenge in April 2011, but accidentally climbed the wrong mountain. Despite the mistake, the group raised £10,000 for their cause.
Damien said he was pleased the Great South Run had gone according to plan. "Everyone knows us as the group who climbed the wrong mountain, so we’re hoping that since we all went the right way this time, we might manage to shake off that label."
Earlier this year, Damien carried the Olympic torch, which he took along to the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research stall at the race. "The staff were really excited to see the torch," he said. "It’s just another way of raising awareness about leukaemia."