He’s a Knockout! Spotlight on Mark James, a hospice hero, who often leaps over foam-sprayed inflatable obstacles to raise funds for Wirral Hospice St John’s #hospicehero #supporters #itsaknockout #patientcare #support #fun #fundraising

Get ready for Sunday 21st July at New Brighton Dips where Wirral Hospice St John’s will be holding our 4th Annual ‘It’s a Knockout’ extravaganza.

Mark James 5Teams of 6-10 people will compete with each other over a range of inflatable obstacles, sometimes dry but more often sprayed with foamy bubbles, which sees the participants slip-sliding all over the place as they try to win points for their team. (On the left of this picture is Mark James, in action at last year’s event. More about him to follow).

It’s a fantastic, fun filled, frenzy of foam-filled fabulousness, in the image of the famous TV show, It’s a Knockout, which ran from the 1960’s through to the ‘80’s. It’s massive fun for everyone involved and, for all those watching too.

Fun is exactly the right word, because the competitors and their supporting friends, family and, in fact, hundreds of people from the whole Wirral come back year after year to join in, and roll around with laughter from the sidelines at, all the pandemonium. This mayhem is complemented by pulsating upbeat music which is enough to get everyone moving as the chaos unfolds.

The competition is the central attraction of the day, but everyone can take part in the fun day which surrounds the event. There’s loads for the family to do, fairground rides, food stalls, ice-cream, face painting and the kids’ favourite, an inflatable assault course.

So, it’s a brilliant day for everyone and a really important fundraising event for Wirral Hospice St John’s. Many people recognise this and are delighted to sponsor their friends and family to take part. Many of the participants inspire others to get involved because it is their way of making their contribution and saying a personal ‘thank you’ to the hospice.

Mark James & coOne such person is Mark James (the furthest man on the left, in blue trainers, as you look at this picture). His Mum, Maureen (known fondly as ‘Mo’), was receiving our specialist care and support when she passed away at the hospice in 2010 and he’s been raising funds for us every year since.

Mark recalls the hospice team caring so attentively for his Mum, taking away any stress and pain that her illness had brought on. He heaps praise on the doctors and nurses whom he describes as, “simply brilliant. Wirral Hospice St John’s made that time in our families lives as nice as it possibly could be. We’ll be eternally grateful.”

Mark is a marketing manager for a software company in his day job. He’s also, it’s fair to say, driven by keeping himself fit and encouraging others, through his fitness business, Better Body Fitness (BBF), to also look after themselves. He’s also encouraged 3 teams, of 10 people each, to contend in the 2019, It’s a Knockout. One of which he’ll lead himself!

BBF brings together people of all shapes, sizes, ages and ability on three evenings a week to take part in fun exercises and circuit training, to get their hearts pumping. I joined him on one such evening at The Grosvenor Assembly Rooms in Wallasey,  to get a flavour of their challenges and, importantly to say Thank You to the groups for their support for the hospice (extended also to others who would have been around on different evenings).

It really is a mix of people ranging from people who are fitness fanatics to people who just want to be active, enjoy themselves and lose a few pounds. Everybody does the same exercises together, but at a pace, repetition and level which suits their current capabilities. They have a gentle motivator in Mark, although he can transmit a ‘bootcamp’ vibe for those who need a stronger challenge! 

Mark James 2

They’re a happy group. Lots of laughs are had during the 45 minute session. First, there’s a nice, easy, warm-up of stretches and light walking or jogging to get the circulation going and then the volume on the background music is turned up. It’s Pump up the Jam, and OFF WE GO.

Squat thrusts, star jumps, sit ups, press ups, running, jogging and walking, I can see that the gents and ladies from this group are going to be able to strive for a win in It’s a Knockout. (But there’s no foam or obstacles in the Gym so that might well level the playing field on the day!)

At the end of the session there’s a nice warm-down and the members are all aglow. I can tell they’re already looking forward to their next workout.

After the session I ask Mark about some of his other fundraising for the hospice. I know that through various events since 2010, including It’s a Knockout, he has already raised over £6,000 for the hospice. Various feats of endurance and iron man events have contributed to this, but perhaps the one he considers the toughest is The Rat Race (Mark pictured here at the end of the small matter of a 200 daunting obstacles over a 20 mile course!)

Mark James (2)

I asked Mark one final question, how, with a busy day job, his fitness business and a young family (Dylan, 7, and Mollie, 4), how does he pile it all in?

“I’ve got a very, very patient wife, Gemma, she’s a nurse.” Ha, now it becomes clear!

Gemma actually returned to nursing in 2018 after maternity leave and actually spent time here at Wirral Hospice St John’s in her ‘refresher’ phase. She has seen life as a family member and now, from the inside, as a returning nurse. She was really inspired by the care and support delivered at the hospice which, she told Mark, had added greatly to her all around experience.

Mark’s favourite quote and the maxim by which he lives, and which he also used as the sign-off of a speech he made earlier this year at a 400 person conference called ‘Ignite your Inner Potential’,  is from Will Smith:

“If you’re not making someone else’s life better then you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.”

What more can we say? Just, THANK YOU very, very much to Mark, and Gemma, all their family and friends, and, of course, all the members from BBF. We’re looking forward to you knocking us all out in It’s a Knockout, 2019!

Author: Billy Howard

(It’s a knockout is on Sunday 21st July at New Brighton Dips. If you’d like to enter a team of 6-10 people at £10 per person call Teresa, Jamie-Leigh or Sarah on 0151 343 0778. We also ask individual teams if they can also raise a minimum of £750 between them, through sponsorship, we would be extremely grateful).

Mark James 6

What does it mean to win #itsaknockout? Jeff Burgess tell us #winner

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With this year’s It’s A Knockout fast approaching (Sun 9 July 2017) we spoke with Jeff Burgess, team captain of last year’s winning team ‘Din’s Dynamos’, to get his thoughts on our ridiculously fun fundraising event!

Why did you choose to take part in It’s A Knockout 2016?
My wife Denise was cared for and passed away at Wirral Hospice St John’s so it will always be a special place to myself and my family. It’s A Knockout was the perfect event for us to all come together as a family and raise some money for the wonderful place and people that cared for Denise. The fun nature of It’s A Knockout is exactly what she was about and she would have been there in spirit laughing and cheering us on.

You all raised a brilliant £920, how did your team go about fundraising your sponsorship?
We made a team JustGiving page then shared it with all our friends and family through our social media accounts. We also received paper sponsor forms from the Hospice which we took in to our workplaces. We were overwhelmed at how supportive everyone was and had exceeded the minimum sponsorship in no time.

What was your favourite part of the day?
The highlight for me was the Jungle River, it was hysterical seeing people flying through the foam and scrambling to get up the slippery slope. Oh and winning, of course!

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How did it feel to be crowned winners?
Absolutely amazing! It was a real sense of achievement for us all knowing that we had come together as a family for Denise and won it for her. We were all a bit emotional to tell you the truth.

What would you say to other teams considering taking part this year?
Go for it! It’s brilliant fun and will have you laughing from start to finish, foam and bouncy inflatables – what’s not to love!! You don’t need to be super fit for this one, just willing to give it a go and a sense of humour is a must! It really is a great day and knowing you are raising money for such an excellent local cause whilst having fun at the same time means everyone is a winner!

To find out how you can sign up a team to this year’s It’s A Knockout competition, please call our fundraising office on 0151 343 0778 or email fundraising@wirralhospice.org with your contact details.

 

Your rubbish can help us flourish by turning trash into cash #recycling #mobilephones #money #jewellery

I know when tidying I find old items that seem a waste to throw away, would be unsellable by a charity and are no longer of any use to me (early signs of hoarding…?).  I come across odd earrings; broken necklaces; old jewellery; old phones; coins and notes from various countries and so on.  Before I was unsure what to do with them (and they went into a box to think about later), but now I can take them into the office and pop them into our recycling box here in fundraising, safe in the knowledge that they are going to a good cause.

Here at Wirral Hospice St John’s we are able to raise money through recycling an ever increasing amount of unwanted items. We are looking to raise more money than ever before through our new recycling boxes which can be found at the Hospice and at any of our charity shops.

 

So when you’ve had a tidy you can now donate:

  •  Jewellery – gold, silver, costume jewellery, watches, broken and damaged items, like odd earrings or snapped chains.
  •  Unwanted currency – old and new, UK and foreign banknotes and coins, including all pre Euro notes that are now worthless to the public.
  • Gadgets – mobile phones, iPods, laptops, sat navs, games consoles, games, tablets, cameras and video cameras – even if these are old and damaged.

If you would like to help us recycle more than ever before then please pop into one of our local charity shops or into the Hospice and pop your jewellery, unwanted currency and gadgets into one our recycling boxes!

Our shops can be found here:

Claughton: 64 Upton Road, Claughton CH41 0DH
Heswall: 254 Telegraph Road, Heswall CH60 7SG
Liscard (bookshop): 18 Seaview Road, Liscard CH45 4LA
Moreton: 268 Hoylake Road, Moreton CH46 6AF
New Brighton: 118 Victoria Road, New Brighton CH45 2JF
West Kirby: 12 Banks Road, West Kirby CH48 4HB

 Author: Jacinta Warwick

Use one of our car boot plots to earn yourself some cash! Sun 3 Mar, 10-1 Hospice car park.

wirral_hospice_car_bootWirral Hospice St John’s car boot sale plots are selling up fast. At only £10 per car we can see why! It’s a great chance to have a good clearout and spring clean of your home and garage and earn yourself some cash in the process.

Call Kerry or Hayley on 0151 343 0778 to book your space for Sun 3 Mar, being held in the Hospice car park from 10am-1pm.

Even if you don’t have items to sell, it’ll be well worth visiting us on the day. It’s free entry and there’ll be antiques, games, toys, clothes, ornaments and other bric-a-brac, furniture, CDs and undoubtedly some random items that you might not find elsewhere. All for utter bargain prices!

Don’t delay, get in touch today!

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