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

Meet Jamie-Leigh #fundraiser and why she loves working for @wirralhospice

wirral_hospice_jamie_leigh_burgessWhat is your role at Wirral Hospice St John’s?

My main role as Fundraising Officer is to organise fundraising events from start to finish to ensure that they are organised successfully. This includes talking to local companies who could possibly help fund events we are hosting. I also give help and guidance to supporters who are organising new and exciting events for our charity.

Why did you choose to work/volunteer at the Hospice?

I have a personal connection with Wirral Hospice as my mum was cared for here six years ago. Therefore I know what an amazing job the hospice does and the care they offer to not only the patients but also their families too.

My family and I then began organising our own events once a year to raise money for the hospice. A job vacancy came up a couple of years ago and due to having experience of fundraising I felt I would be well suited for the role.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

I would say the most rewarding part of the job is knowing that I am part of helping to raise money for such a fantastic cause. Due to personally seeing the work they do I know exactly what the money I am helping raise is going to, which gives me a great sense of achievement. I’m very proud to be a Wirral Hospice fundraiser.

What events do you have coming up?    

The next upcoming event we have planned is It’s a Knockout which is an inflatable obstacle course based on the hit 70s TV show with 27 teams competing throughout the day. This is on Sunday 9th July in Birkenhead Park at 10:30 am onwards with food/bar, face painting, tombola, children’s fair rides and much more. It’s going to be an amazing family-friendly day of mayhem!

DSC_0003

Another event we have planned is a Ladies Lunch at an exclusive venue on Wed 19 July. This daytime event offers a two course meal and wine experience with a guest speaker and is a lovely opportunity for our volunteers and supporters to put on a pretty frock and have a lovely afternoon out.

How can people get involved?

People are welcome to come along to It’s a Knockout to offer support and spectate – there’ll be so much to see and do.

We also welcome volunteers at fundraising events to help out. Another big way of helping out with our Hospice fundraising events is by spreading the word to help us get as much publicity as possible, this can be done really easily by sharing Wirral Hospice’s Facebook and Twitter posts on social media.

If anyone is interested in upcoming Hospice events they can purchase tickets from our Fundraising Office by popping in or calling 0151 343 0778. A full Fundraising Calendar is here on our website.

If anyone is interested in becoming a Wirral Hospice volunteer, please contact Carole Snow, Volunteer Services Manager on 0151 334 2778.

Jobs & Volunteering opportunities are listed on our Hospice website and promoted on social media channels as they arise.

 

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

DSC_0003

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!

DSC_0746

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.

 

%d bloggers like this: