Unipart raises more than £1,400 for Leicester Oncology Ward

Unipart’s Baginton A site raised more than £1,400 for Leicester Oncology Ward during the Big Charity Challenge 2023, in memory of former colleague Mike Gardner who lost his life to esophageal cancer on 1 March 2022 at the young age of 54.

Mike served Unipart for 33 years, during which time he became a much-valued colleague and great friend to many. He was treated in the ward during his four-month illness.

Leicester Hospitals Charity supports patients, their carers, and the NHS staff at the three NHS hospitals that support the community across Leicester, Leicestershire, Rutland, and beyond. The ward is close to the hearts of Baginton A employees so when each site was offered the chance to select one local charity to benefit from the Big Charity Challenge 2023 the team saw it as a great opportunity to recognise such a vital local cause. 

The annual Big Charity Challenge gives employees, who are the heart and soul of Unipart, the opportunity to give back to their communities and support those most in need. It’s a representation of Unipart’s culture, known as The Unipart Way, which guides how employees think, work and behave in order to bring the most benefit to stakeholders.

Through a variety of fun activities, including a daring firewalk, the Baginton A team raised £1,446, with Unipart’s central charity fund donation matching taking the total to £1,666.

Chris Brown, a colleague of Mike, said: “Mike was survived by his wife of 25 years, Debbie, as well as his children Abi (a previous Unipart employee) and Lewis. The care that Mike and his family received from the hospital, and the Oncology Ward in particular, was the best they could have hoped for.

“The amount of people who donated to a collection for Mike at the time was amazing and allowed a permanent memorial to be placed in his memory at his beloved Hinckley Rugby Club, as well as a donation to the hospital. With Mike’s passing it was an obvious choice to do something that could honour his memory and the choice of the Leicester Hospital Oncology Ward was a clear choice and something the fundraising team knew would be well supported.”

Sara Thornton, another colleague of Mike, said: “There were so many good, funny times spent with Mike and this one in particular still makes me smile when we dressed up as ‘big wigs’ for comic relief. Mike was a true gent and always made time to listen and was someone you could have a really good laugh with (especially over a few beers!)”

Duncan Carter, who also worked with Mike, said: “I have known Mike for over 20 years from a work perspective. He was my line manager for a number of years. This is such a worthy cause for a top man and great family which keeps the memories alive.”

Mike’s wife, Debbie, explained the importance of the charity: “The support and guidance of all the staff in the Oncology department at Leicester hospitals was second to none.”

Asiya Parekh, Leicester Hospitals Charity Corporate Fundraising Officer, said: “Leicester Hospital’s Charity has a strong partnership with Unipart Logistics and we are delighted to be chosen as the recipients of The Big Charity Challenge. Leicester’s Hospitals Oncology teams and departments have benefited greatly.

“Unipart’s support means that we can provide kinder care to local residents undergoing cancer treatment, giving them more time to make lasting memories with their families, and provide our staff with training and development, fund their innovative ideas, and recognise the incredible work they do to save lives daily. Thank you Unipart!”

Unipart is incredibly proud to be able to support this vital cause and looks forward to creating an even stronger relationship going forward as part of its year-round fundraising endeavours.