Mark Cunningham and Gemma Aitchison at Anthony James Estates in Southport. Mark is taking part in the Jail and Bail fundraiser for Queenscourt Hospice. Photo by Andrew Brown Stand Up For Southport

By Queenscourt Crime Correspondent Andrew Brown

A record breaking cyclist is waiting for the wheels of justice to turn after joining this year’s Jail and Bail fundraiser for Queenscourt Hospice. 

Mark Cunningham, a Director at Anthony James Estate Agents in Southport, is among a dozen ‘inmates’ who will be ‘locked up’ for a variety of ‘crimes’ on Friday, 7th June 2024 – unless they can raise £999 in ‘bail’ money for Queenscourt Hospice. 

You can donate to Mark’s appeal via his JustGiving link here

The Christmas loving fundraiser has been charged with being ‘a jingle bell junkie’. 

These things tend to happen in cycles. 

Mark, along with brothers Jonathan and Alastair and friend Tony Jones, once completed an epic two and a half week linear quad tandem challenge from Land’s End to John O’Groats for charity, raising £32,000 for charity. 

His wheels keep on turning when it comes to challenging charity events with jail and Bail his latest initiative. 

Mark and his family have long been huge supporters of Queenscourt Hospice, and other local charities. 

Earlier this month, Mark and over 30 family members and friends took part in the annual Star Trekk 10k night walk for Queenscourt, raising over £2,000. 

He said: “I don’t think anybody in Southport and the surrounding areas can say that they don’t know someone who has been cared for by Queenscourt, either at the hospice, or at home. 

“My Dad, Gerard, was cared for very well at Queenscourt, he died there in 2007.” 

Losing their Dad inspired Mark and his brother Jonathan and Alastair and friend Tony Jones to embark on an incredible journey across the UK. 

He said: “We decided to do Land’s End to John O’Groats on a four-person linear tandem bike. 

“We became UK Guinness Record holders! 

“It was one big road trip, which was dedicated to our Dad. 

“We were raising money for Queenscourt Hospice and BLESMA, the military charity for limbless veterans. 

“Along the route we stayed at night at different military bases along the route so we could keep our costs down and raise more money for our charities. 

“When we arrived in Southport, it was a fantastic moment. 

“We raised over £32,000 through our challenge, we were really pleased with how well it went and the support we received from so many people. 

Mark Cunningham and Gemma Aitchison at Anthony James Estates in Southport. Mark is taking part in the Jail and Bail fundraiser for Queenscourt Hospice.  Photo by Andrew Brown Stand Up For Southport

Mark Cunningham and Gemma Aitchison at Anthony James Estates in Southport. Mark is taking part in the Jail and Bail fundraiser for Queenscourt Hospice.
Photo by Andrew Brown Stand Up For Southport

“We were just four lads on a big road trip! We did no real training beforehand. 

“We borrowed the bike from JD Cycles in Ilkley, tried it out with a couple of laps up and down Lord Street, and then we were off. 

“Jail and Bail is now my next challenge to raise money for Queenscourt. 

“It looked like it was a really fun event last year and I recognised a few of the people taking part.

“I am looking forward to giving it a go, although I’m not quite sure what challenges I’m facing yet!” 

Mark is hoping he can invite as much support as he can among people locally to raise the £999 ‘bail’ money he needs to escape a prison term through Jail and Bail. 

He was born and bred in Southport and studied at St Mary’s College in Crosby, KGV Sixth Form College in Southport, and Liverpool University. 

Mark and wife Lyn launched Anthony James Estate Agents in Southport 22 years ago after spotting a need for their business. 

He said: “We realised how poor the service was in the area at that time. We said ‘we can create something much better for people, let’s do it’. 

“We are now the only regulated estate agent in the whole of Sefton, signed up to The Property Institute. 

“As well as selling and renting property, we also manage around 200 blocks of apartments. 

“We have always done what we can to support a variety of local charities and other good causes. 

“I became a Trustee for the Community Link Foundation last year and will always do what I can for our local community.”

Mark Cunningham and Gemma Aitchison at Anthony James Estates in Southport. Mark is taking part in the Jail and Bail fundraiser for Queenscourt Hospice.  Photo by Andrew Brown Stand Up For Southport

Mark Cunningham and Gemma Aitchison at Anthony James Estates in Southport. Mark is taking part in the Jail and Bail fundraiser for Queenscourt Hospice.
Photo by Andrew Brown Stand Up For Southport

Mark is eager for people to back his fundraising for Queenscourt Hospice, and support the incredible work it does for families across Southport, Formby and West Lancashire. 

He said: “When our Dad was being cared for at Queenscourt Hospice, we spoke with Dr Karen Groves a couple of times. 

“Being at Queenscourt Hospice is a hugely privileged journey. We are all on this ride up to the top. 

“The care that was provided by everyone at Queenscourt was definitely a blessing for us as a family. 

“Only a fifth of their funding comes through the NHS but the service they provide for people in our community is absolutely vital. 

“We all have to do what we can to keep supporting our local hospice.” 

Every penny raised through Jail & Bail will go towards Queenscourt Hospice, which provides care and support for residents across West Lancashire, Southport and Formby, 365 days a year.

Queenscourt is staging this fundraiser in collaboration with Stand Up For Southport 10am-3pm on Friday, 7th June 2024 at Access Point, based inside the former Southport Magistrates’ Court building, on Albert Road in Southport.

A handful of other local ‘criminals’ have already had their collars felt – organisers are looking forward to bringing them together in June as a ‘chain gang’.

Several local businesses are supporting the initiative on the day.

Queenscourt Hospice Fundraising Manager Liz Hartley said:

“We’re thrilled to join forces with Andrew and the Stand Up For Southport team for this year’s Jail and Bail event. This quirky event isn’t just about fun and entertainment—it’s a testament to our community’s generosity and spirit. Together, our ‘inmates’ are raising vital funds to help us to provide compassionate care to those who need us most. We’re looking forward to laughter, camaraderie, and making a real difference where it counts.”

Stand up For Southport Director Andrew Brown said:

“We are honoured to team up with Queenscourt Hospice to launch the second Jail & Bail fundraiser!

“It’s going to be a really fun way of raising money for an incredible local charity that holds a very special place in the hearts of so many of us.”

Queenscourt Hospice provides access to specialist palliative care either at home (including care homes), hospital or in Queenscourt via the Inpatient Unit or as an Outpatient.

 

  •   For more details or to register your interest please email Queenscourt Hospice Fundraising Manager Liz Hartley at: fundraising@queenscourt.org.uk or email: Stand Up For Southport owner Andrew Brown at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

 

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Do you need advertising, PR or media support? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com   

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