Friends of a devoted mum who died from cancer have smashed their fundraising target and raised more than £23,500 for their local hospice.
Bev Connolly was just 47 when she died at St Benedict’s Hospice, Ryhope, Sunderland, at the end of January following a lengthy illness.
Bev was a patient at St Benedict’s throughout her illness and teambev, led by her good friends, Paula Lydiatt and Marguerite Harvey, launched an appeal to raise money for a scanner for the hospice following one of Bev’s last wishes.
In only eight months, the team undertook 16 challenges, including the Kielder Night Marathon, London Marathon, children’s bike ride, the Junior Great North Run and Great North Run, cycling the Coast to Coast, walking the Pier to Pier and navigating the three peaks.
The team also enjoyed several social events from race nights to afternoon tea.
The groups fluctuated in size for each challenge, with as many as 50 people joining the challenge at times.
When Bev needed any investigative treatment she always had to leave the hospice and go to hospital and she hated that, so hopefully the scanner will mean more people can stay in the hospice instead of having to travel for treatment.Marguerite Harvey
Marguerite, of Houghton, said: “We’ve been really touched by all the support we’ve had and we’re so delighted we’ve raised more than enough for a scanner.
“When Bev needed any investigative treatment she always had to leave the hospice and go to hospital and she hated that, so hopefully the scanner will mean more people can stay in the hospice instead of having to travel for treatment.
“Bev was such a lovely person and there were more than 400 people at her funeral. “We all wanted to do this for Bev, Paul and the boys and they’ve joined us along the way. “It’s been a phenomenal team effort.”
The team was backed by Bev’s husband Paul and her stepson, Liam, and sons Jamie, and Oliver, with the effort also backed by Houghton Rugby club, where most of the social events have taken place.
Bev had worked as a special needs teacher for Springboard and worked closely with Houghton Kepier School as well as other schools and colleges in the area.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and following treatment did go into remission.
She was later diagnosed with a brain tumour in January 2014.
One of her last wishes was for the team to raise £14,000 for a scanner for the hospice.
The additional money the team raised will go towards training as well as support for other equipment in the day care and inpatient unit.
Catrina Flynn, fundraising manager at St Benedict’s Hospice, said: “Bev was a truly beautiful person and will be much missed by those who knew her. “The love of all her friends and family shines through. “We’re really grateful and proud that the team raised so much on her behalf.
“The new scanner will make a big difference to many lives.”
More information about the fundraising campaign can be found at www.justgiving.com/teams/bev16 and by searching teambev via Facebook and Twitter.