HEALTH staff in South Tyneside got inspiration from a Paralympic gold medallist when they took part in a marathon relay challenge in aid of charity.
Staff from South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust took part in the event, which saw participants collectively complete 105 laps of Monkton Stadium in Jarrow in aid of South Shields-based charity Cancer Connections.
However, swimmer Josef Craig, who won gold in the S7 400m men’s freestyle event in London’s 2012 Paralympics, dropped in, along with fellow pupils and staff, from St Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Hebburn.
Josef, 16, who is also a patron of the charity, which helps individuals and families affected by cancer, said: “I was really honoured to be asked to come along as Cancer Connections is a charity close to my heart. It is also good to see people who might not usually exercise do something like this to get a bit fitter and healthier.”
This is the second time that the marathon relay challenge has been organised by the Trust’s health, safety and wellbeing team.
They introduced it last year in memory of their colleague, Clarissa Wilson, who died in June, 2012.
A physiotherapist by background, she was a keen advocate of health and fitness and even when her health restricted her activities, she still enjoyed walking.
Andy Kane, head of the Trust’s health, safety and wellbeing team, said: “In a recent survey, 47 per cent of the Trust’s workforce said that they intended to do more exercise, and this was a chance for them to put those good intentions into action.
“Lack of physical activity is a key risk factor for many health conditions, so getting employees and the local community to do some exercise is a great way of improving health and wellbeing.”
The Trust is already following in Josef’s golden footsteps: it has just been given the gold award for the NHS Sport and Activity Challenge, which is aimed at getting employees actively engaged in sport or physical activity linked with their employment.