Care home residents raise money for ELF with ten-mile walk

Residents and staff at an Exeter care home raised hundreds of pounds for a local leukaemia charity through a sponsored silence and a ten-mile walk.

Activity coordinator Tom Matthews, his colleagues, and residents at The Old Rectory, held a charity week of fundraising activities in aid of Exeter Leukaemia Fund (ELF).

The week saw residents and staff don fancy dress outfits for the day, take part in a quiz and cheese night, host a coffee morning, and walk from Exmouth to the care home on Old Tiverton Road, Exeter.

The Southern Healthcare home’s popular and talkative kitchen assistant, John Thurston, also managed a sponsored silence for an entire shift. 

Tom enthused: “Our residents and staff put a lot of effort into raising money for ELF. We had a great time with a jam-packed week full of fundraising activities.”

He added: “I’d like to say a special thank you to Jackie Brooks and Marion Lancaster, who did the first stretch of the walk and Margaret Holt and Barbara Kelly, who did the second part of the sponsored walk with myself and colleague, Nicky Martin.”

Fortunately, it was a sunny day for the walkers, who scheduled pit stops along the route for ice cream at Lympstone and lunch at Topsham Quay. 

Tom joked: “John, also did his bit to raise money and everyone was quick to offer some money in return for his silence.”

Residents and staff at the care home chose to fundraise for ELF because care home manager Kerry Dempsey’s husband, spent six months on Yarty ward. During this time, ELF provided Kerry and her two young daughters with much needed support.

ELF was founded in 1980 by Dr Miles Joyner, a consultant haematologist at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. He started the charity to improve the lives of patients with blood cancer and blood disorders by raising funds for better facilities and equipment, and research. Over the past 35 years, ELF has helped fund and build the Haematology Centre at the RD&E, fund the building of a critical care unit at the hospital’s Yarty ward, and funded research projects, as well as staff and equipment.  

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