Couple go extra miles to say thank you to charity

Antony and Kerry Hirst
Antony and Kerry Hirst

A SHEFFIELD teacher and his wife have raised a staggering £10,223.23 for a charity providing free accommodation to families of sick children while they are being treated in hospital.

Antony and Kerry Hirst, from Aston, near Sheffield, began fundraising for The Sick Children’s Trust in Spring 2011 with a goal of £5,000 – and six months later has more than doubled that amount.

Antony, aged 45, and 35-year-old Kerry wanted to give something back to the charity which supported them when their son Noah received treatment for Hirschsprung’s disease, a bowel condition, at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Over the six-month period, Antony and his colleagues and pupils from Firth Park Community Arts College undertook a number of events and activities to raise money.

These included a 150-mile cycle ride by Jim Taylor, head of humanities, to the home of every member of his department, the Sheffield Half Marathon, a 12-hour sponsored tennis match by PE teacher Simon Jeffery, a school sponsored walk, summer fair and a cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

Antony said: “During the first three weeks of his life, Noah had to stay at the hospital as he was required to go daily for treatment. During this time, my wife and I were lucky enough to secure a room in Treetop House, The Sick Children’s Trust’s accommodation at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

“Situated on the top floor, it was only a lift ride away from the wards, so we knew we could be at his bedside at any time night or day if needed.

“We were both grateful to the charity for the support it gave us during this time and wanted to do some fundraising to reflect this.

“When I told everyone at my school they all got behind us and wanted to join in with the activities and the results speak for themselves.

“I can’t thank enough all my colleagues, pupils and friends who have helped us to achieve this amazing feat; we couldn’t have got there without them and thanks to them we can ensure this wonderful charity continues its vital work.”

Noah, now aged 18 months, had his operation last July which allowed his bowel to function properly and is now a healthy and happy toddler.