The Chair of Southport and Ormskirk NHS Hospitals Trust has thanked rugby players in our town for raising over £35,000 through The Ellis Expedition.
Southport Rugby Football Club players and supporters ran, swam, cycled and mountain climbed the over 80,000km between them throughout July – the equivalent of travelling more than twice the way around the world!
They were inspired by Club President Graham Ellis, who tragically died aged 64 just before the challenge started.
Graham was among the driving forces behind the spectacular transformation of the club both on and off the pitch over the past few years.
He was a passionate supporter of the NHS, whom he credited with twice saving his life in recent years. Father-of-three Graham, who was married to wife, Anne, and father of Hugh, Megan and Jack, had recently been told that he was not being put forward for the liver transplant he needed and was instead given just a few months left to live.
One of his many legacies will be the £35,000 which has now been raised in his memory through the Ellis Expedition and which will now go to the Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals Charity.
Neil Masom, Chair of the Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Charity, said: “What an incredible achievement and amazing way to honour Graham. Sadly I did not have the pleasure of meeting him, but to inspire this impressive fundraising drive he must have been a very special person. “We are incredibly grateful for the donation and will make sure this is invested in something which will make a lasting difference to our staff and patients. Once again, a huge heartfelt thank you from us all here.”
Colin Toohey from Southport Rugby Football Club had the idea for The Ellis Expedition, and was overwhelmed with how successful it was.
He said: “We have done it! I am just so proud of the club, that we achieved what we set out to do, in raising money for the Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Charity and to honour a great man, Graham Ellis.
“The whole club has been awesome and we have had a real mix of people who have taken part, from young to old, families exercising together and making new friends in the group challenges we have undertaken. It has also been great to see people step up and push themselves beyond their comfort zones and challenge themselves. I must thank James Cook, who ran all our social media during the Ellis Expedition, which has helped create awareness and raise the funds.
“That is the kind of man that Graham was, to have inspired that level of support among so many. There have been people in Dubai, in Australia, all over the world, doing challenges in his memory.
“There have been people in their 80s doing the expedition, children aged five, the people involved are mostly from our rugby club but there are also others from the wider rugby family who are keen to honour him.”
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