Home News Jason Audsley and The Shepherd’s Boy Walkers raise an incredible £10,500 for The Kirkwood

22 Nov 2021 Community

Jason Audsley and The Shepherd’s Boy Walkers raise an incredible £10,500 for The Kirkwood

Jason Audsley, his boys Lucas and Elliott and over 50 others raised an incredible £10,500 back in the Summer, taking part in our Sunrise Walk in memory of Jason’s wife, Natalie who sadly passed away in 2019 on our In-Patient Unit.

The 52 strong team of walkers completed a loop of Dewsbury and Ossett, stretching over 25 miles. Having taken part in our Midnight Memory Walk in previous years, this walk was incredibly poignant for Jason as it would have been his and Natalie’s 25th wedding anniversary in October this year.

Jason Said: “I have been doing these walks for the past two years since we lost Natalie, and we raised £9,435.53 during the 25 mile Sunrise Walk we organised in the Summer. We realised we were so close to £10,000, so we organised a raffle which we drew at our presentation evening making our grand total for this year just over £10,500! Since Natalie passed, with last year’s sponsored walk (£5,271) and other collections we have raised just short of £20k, which is just brilliant – Natalie would be so proud of everyone involved.”

One of the walk’s organisers, Debbie Parr, said: “It’s brilliant we have been able to put such an amazing team together, it has been hard work, but the everyone involved has been really inspirational and supportive of Jason and his boys on their journey.

“We still can’t believe that through the efforts of this amazing group of people we have come together to raise £10,500 for The Kirkwood – we are all so proud of each other.”

The team began their walk, at the Shepherd’s Boy pub in Dewsbury, walking all along the canal up to Ossett, where they then dropped down to walk through Earlsheaton, and on to Dewsbury park, finishing back at their starting point. The walkers completed the circular twice.

“The second lap took a bit longer because people stopped at the odd pub for a break, which was a nice treat and gave us the opportunity to top-up our collection buckets – everyone was so generous.”

Jason is very grateful to The Kirkwood for the care offered to Natalie, who was admitted to our In-Patient Unit, aged 45, after being diagnosed with cancer back in May 2019.

Jason said: “We weren’t expecting Natalie to pass away so soon as she was diagnosed only six months before and was so fit and well before then. She handled her illness with so much dignity and rarely complained so we just hoped we all had more time with her. We were all in shock that it happened so quickly. She left a massive hole in all our lives and we think about her all the time.

“Natalie was on the In-Patient Unit in her last hours from the Friday and she passed away peacefully on the Saturday morning. On reflection, we took comfort in knowing that she was under the care of The Kirkwood at this time. The staff were so caring and understanding and talked us through the final stages of her care. We can’t thank them enough for their support. You don’t really take it in at the time, but we wouldn’t have wanted Natalie to be anywhere else in her final hours.

“The comfort in knowing that she was cared for helped to reassure me, our boys and Natalie's family at this inevitable time. Everybody was so kind and understanding whilst we were left feeling devastated, but it helped us a lot to come to terms with it.

“It is quite overwhelming how the people of this community have come together to support us in wanting to raise this money for The Kirkwood.”

As a huge thank you to those who took part, and to formally present the cheque of funds raised to The Kirkwood Fundraising Team, a presentation night took place on the 16th of October at The Shepherd’s Boy Pub.

All the walkers were presented with a special ‘The Kirkwood Support Life’ hoodie to commemorate their momentous achievement.

Jason said of the evening: “It is brilliant to have so many people here at the pub and supporting us. They all earned their hoodies, and it just shows the community spirit we have around here. 

“I wasn’t going to do it next year, but knowing I am 50, and after seeing the support we have received, and the way in which the community has come together, we changed our minds.  We are aiming to do a massive 50 miles over 2 days.”

Jason has become a great community ambassador for The Kirkwood, urging people not to be afraid of contacting The Kirkwood if they need support.

He explains: “Don’t ever be worried about asking The Kirkwood for support, it’s not just a building it’s the people that work there, how they care for people in the community, outside of the Dalton site too. They provide the best support, from counselling and therapy to bereavement support, it really is an amazing place.”

He continued: “People don’t know what is going to happen in their lives – I didn’t – but the one thing that remains the same is that The Kirkwood are there to help and that is just so comforting to know. For me The Kirkwood isn’t just about going somewhere where people pass on, it’s also about the people involved, our mission and the memories made at the fundraising events.

“It really does help to know that no matter how heartbroken you are there is something that we can all do to give something back – it really does help with the healing process knowing that we are helping to ensure that other people will benefit from the services provided by this amazing organisation – and to know that our loved ones would be so proud.

“I am now part of The Kirkwood family, and I always will be.”

“We have so many people to thank this year for all of their support, including The Shepherd’s Boy, everyone who donated a raffle prize and to everyone who sponsored us and bought raffle tickets along the way. Thank you!”

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