By Andy Hirst

Severely disabled Huddersfield man Stephen Collins didn’t just complete a gruelling five-mile charity challenge walk … he absolutely smashed it.

The 63-year-old raised £1,750 for Stand Up To Cancer, the joint fundraising campaign by Cancer Research UK and Channel 4, after losing both his dad and sister-in-law to cancer.

Stephen has Cerebral Palsy and doctors told his parents when he was born he would never walk.

Continually encouraged and supported by his parents, Stephen certainly proved the medics wrong even though every step is a huge physical challenge. He had trained hard for this sponsored walk and it paid off as he finished in just five hours, two hours ahead of schedule.

Stephen said: “I was asked to wear an orange tutu so I’d stand out, although I kind of stand out from the crowd anyway.”

Stephen, of Longwood, started his walk at 8am in Greenhead Park joined by wife Sally, daughter, Rose, 28, and a team of supporters. He then headed into Huddersfield town centre, calling in at the Cancer Research UK Shop on Ramsden Street, before finishing his tough challenge back at Greenhead Park, crossing the finish line to cheers at 1pm.

Stephen Collins

Stephen was well-known as an entrepreneur, running his own successful mobility equipment business, Lazarus Mobility, and was mentored by Dragons Den star Duncan Bannatyne. Now retired, Stephen spends his time tinkering with his treasured collection of Jaguar motorcars.

He was hit hard when he lost his beloved dad, Walter, to brain cancer 23 years ago, as his dad was his best friend and mentor. He also found it very difficult when he lost his sister-in-law, Maureen, from cancer, as he was very close to her.

This is why Stephen became determined to Stand Up To Cancer and do something to help others battling the illness.

He said: “People might not believe me, but I’ve been lucky. My life has been fantastic and I have achieved a lot and have so much to be grateful for, even with my own disability.

“But it’s not always easy for someone faced with cancer. That’s why it was my time to Stand Up To Cancer and help those people whose life has been touched by this disease. No matter how much I raise, every penny will help someone. It was a real effort for me to walk the five miles but I was spurred on by seeing first-hand how much of an effort it is to go through cancer treatment.

“I want to thank everyone who has already sponsored me, including those lovely people of Huddersfield who stopped to put money in the buckets while I was on my walk. 

“I want to raise as much money as possible to help fund lifesaving research and help bring forward the day when people won’t lose the people they love because of cancer.

“I’m Standing Up To Cancer because it can affect anyone’s life, at any time, so we really have no choice other than to unite against it and help support the scientists to keep making new discoveries. I want the rest of my family to grow up in a world free from the fear of cancer.”

Kathryn Leverett from Cancer Research UK presents Stephen with a medal for his fundraising

Around 33,500 people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the Yorkshire and The Humber regions. Stand Up To Cancer helps to take breakthroughs from the lab and transform them quickly into cutting-edge treatments that could help save the lives of more people.

Nicki Embleton from Cancer Research UK said: “As someone who has a daily struggle to actually stand up we are so grateful to Stephen for this massive challenge he’s completed to raise money for Stand Up To Cancer. It was an honour to join him on part of his route and see just how determined he was to complete it. I think he surprised himself, never mind the rest of us, at just how quickly he finished.

“I now urge people in Huddersfield to support him and even think about doing their own challenge because thanks to the amazing fundraising challenges people like Stephen undertake, every day our researchers are working tirelessly to help more people survive.

“They’re finding ways to stop cancer from resisting treatment. They’re improving technology to detect it faster and boosting the immune system so that it’s better at destroying cancer cells.

“But there’s so much further to go. One in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime. All of us can play a part to help beat it. That’s why we’re asking everyone to Stand Up To Cancer this October and raise money that could help get new tests and treatments to those who need them most. If we all stand together, we can save lives.” 

It’s not too late to boost Stephen’s fundraising total. Go to

* Written by former Huddersfield Examiner Head of Content ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting.