Stuart Heslington - Sheffield Major Events Committee Chair

Stuart Heslington, Major Events Committee ChairI want to take a minute to tell you about my involvement with the British Heart Foundation. 

Grab a cuppa and have a read of my blog. I hope you enjoy it!

Stuart Heslington, Sheffield Major Events Committee ChairAfter some small scale fundraising in the past I decided I wanted to make a bigger contribution than before, so I approached the local area BHF office and went from there. With an idea for a new event I joined the Sheffield Major Events Committee; I must have shown some serious enthusiasm because in no time at all I was accepted into the role of branch Chairperson!

The reason behind all this is that when I was 15 my dad died of heart failure and although that was a long time ago, as I’ve got older I’ve realised that I can do something really positive. I know it’s too late for my dad, but it will help another family avoid the pain of losing someone close.

So with the incentive of helping future heart patients and a cracking idea for an unusual event I formulated a plan to stage the Take The Stairs Challenge 2012. On the 25 of February on a bright and breezy Saturday morning around 80 people stepped up to the challenge of running the 20 floors, 40 flights, 390 steps of the University of Sheffield’s iconic Arts Tower.

Now I’m no events organiser but working as a team with the Sheffield Major Events Committee meant we could all play to our strengths and get the job done. All the prep paid off and we raised £5000 from entry fees and sponsorship! It was amazing.

Stuart, Major Events Committee Chair Some of the highlights were meeting long time BHF supporter and ex Premier League referee Uriah Rennie, organising and taking part in a photo shoot and actually doing a couple of radio interviews to promote the event. I had great fun throughout but what really struck me was the excitement from the runners on the day, not just excitement from doing this crazy event but for how much sponsorship money they had raised.

People were approaching me saying “I have £250 in sponsorship and my friend has £300”. Some BHF funded researchers were there doing the event too and it was nice to think that ‘that guy over there’ will help ‘that girl over there’ tackle heart disease and I made it happen. It was incredible.

Stuart getting ready for for the Sheffield half marathonOf course this was one event and we’re planning to have several more throughout the year. The committee is small and made up of volunteers who all have their reasons to help the BHF, from being heart patients themselves to just wanting to support such a good cause. Whatever we do we have the full support and guidance of the BHF and know full well that the time we give is highly valued.

I must say I did plunge in at the deep end and organising a new event from scratch isn’t easy, but the tremendous support I got from the other volunteers made it possible. If you’re a volunteer or would like to volunteer and want to see an event from the ‘inside’ come and join us. I’ve found it to be the most rewarding thing I’ve done and I would recommend it to anyone.