Leyland Trucks’ #StrongerTogether fundraiser completes, beating target with £25,000 total

This year’s Helping Hand #StrongerTogether challenge has come to an end, following seven weeks of community activities that have raised more than GBP25,000 for local cancer charities. Helping Hand, the non-profit organisation run by a committee of Leyland Trucks and PACCAR Parts employees, launched its programme of large-scale challenges for the #StrongerTogether event to replace the annual Factory to Festival fundraiser, which had to be cancelled for a second time because of COVID-19. With the goal of raising GBP20,000 for cancer charities, the #StrongerTogether event was extended to span seven weeks and to commemorate Leyland Trucks’ 125th anniversary, with fundraising initiatives big and small to benefit charities that have been severely impacted by the pandemic.

A truck pull, supported by DAF Trucks, saw DAF dealership teams across the country competing to heave an XF vehicle over a 125-foot course; 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. Meanwhile, members of the community completed sponsored doggy walks, half marathons, golf challenges, cycle routes, triathlons and more to collectively turn their miles into money. The event was sponsored by TRP/PACCAR Parts, MADE Profiles, Brigade Electronics, Leyland Rotary Club, Pailton Engineering, Schneider Electric Systems, Slaters Safety and Goodyear, with all money raised being donated to St Catherine’s Hospice, Rosemere Cancer Foundation, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Festivities this year began with the 125 ft truck pull, which teams of six from across the Leyland Trucks site heaved an 8.5-tonne DAF XF vehicle across a set course. Teams from other DAF dealerships in Derby, Aberdeen, Leeds, Ipswich, Bristol and more, then emulated the challenge, aiming to beat the fastest Leyland team’s score of 22.9 seconds. 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. Importantly, 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 to pull the truck 125 ft to coincide with our special anniversary. “The event was really well received, it’s been a lot of fun and brought out some healthy competition between dealerships, and has raised more than GBP10,000 towards our total fundraising goal.” Alison Evans is a retail manager at St Catherine’s Hospice and head coach at Revolution Running and was integral to organising the 12.5km running and walking event.

She said: “The route for our event was longer than usual – we normally travel 10km but to celebrate Leyland Trucks’ 125-year anniversary and put everyone through their paces, we increased the route to 12.5km. “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 didn’t chip time 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.”

The #StrongerTogether event concluded with a 125-mile cycle, which saw 32 riders take on a challenging route through Preston, North Yorkshire and into 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 #StrongerTogether event has demonstrated everything that is brilliant about living in this part of the world. Leyland has really 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.” Emma Jacovelli, head of community engagement at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “The creativity, commitment and hard work that has gone into this campaign is once again phenomenal. “Not only has it raised such a wonderful total for the charities involved, it’s 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.” Dan Hill, Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s chief officer, said: “We are immensely grateful to Helping Hand for including us among the charities to benefit from its special anniversary event.

Over the years, we have received great support from Leyland Trucks. Its donations to us now total over GBP30,000 and have been put towards a variety of great projects, which have benefitted thousands of local cancer patients from throughout Lancashire and South Cumbria, proving that we are #StrongerTogether when it comes to working for the greater good of our community.” Phil Jones, chairman of Helping Hand, said: “This year’s collective effort to make #StrongerTogether a very special event has been nothing short of tremendous.

To have beaten our fundraising target by such a significant margin is 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 now be able 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!”

Helping Hand was founded in 1994 by a group of enthusiastic Leyland Trucks and PACCAR PARTS workers who wanted to help disadvantaged employees and local causes.

To-date, the charity has raised more than GBP1million.