Fundraiser Rob Thewlis is a man on a mission – and it’s all about repaying a debt of gratitude to The Kirkwood.
Rob, 30, of Dalton, started supporting the Huddersfield hospice when his sister Katie died in 2009.
But his fundraising efforts stepped up a gear after his mum Susan died suddenly in 2016.
Susan, 60, suffered a brain aneurysm and spent the last week of her life at the hospice.
Rob said: “I started fundraising for the hospice in 2010 but it’s one of those places where you only find out how amazing it is when you go through the doors and see what they do.
“They didn’t just care for my mum, they cared for all of us. From that moment I just wanted to give back.”
From then on Rob was inspired to raise funds for the hospice. In total he’s probably raised pushing £10,000.
Rob has completed 10 of the hospice’s Midnight Memory Walks and two Colour Rush events.
“For me it’s not just about the event, it’s the community feel,” said Rob. “The Kirkwood has a big place in the hearts of so many people.”
Last year was a nightmare year for charities with events cancelled due to the pandemic. But that just meant a new opportunity for Rob’s fundraising creativity.
He started out hosting virtual quiz nights on Facebook for friends and family with the intention of raising a couple of hundred pounds over a couple of weeks.
Ten weeks later he had raised over £1,000. As the pandemic eased over the summer Rob decided to have a short break from fundraising, however he was soon back with a 12 Days of Christmas prize draw.
With the support of generous local businesses his 12 prizes quickly mushroomed into 36 and over 1,000 tickets were sold.
In 2020 Rob, who lives at home with dad Ray, raised £2,308. But that total has just raised the benchmark again.
This year, as we start 2021 in lockdown, Rob has launched a new fundraising target and he’s called it Mission 3,000. His aim is to raise £3,000 this year.
His big plan is to organise a virtual run where 100 people can run (or walk) any distance they set themselves.
Rob has teamed up with a virtual race company which will donate its usual commission to the charity, meaning a £1,300 profit if all the places sell out.
Another company is set to sponsor specially-commissioned medals for those who take part.
Rob is also planning to run the Manchester Marathon in October, assuming it goes ahead.
He runs to boost his mental health and has completed a marathon once before.
“It was horrendous,” said Rob. “I vowed never to do it again. But then a week later I had signed up for another!”
You can’t keep Rob down and he reckons he gets that from his mum. “My mum was a big giver and that’s where I’ve inherited it from,” he said.
“I’m carrying on my mum’s legacy and I won’t stop. It’s all about giving back.”
Rob wants to thank all the businesses who have supported him, particularly during the pandemic.
To support Rob go to his JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kirkwoodmission3000