North Wales Merchandising Firm Staff Raise Funds for Hospices

Staff from a North Wales company are set to fling themselves from the sky and pound the streets of London to raise funds for a charity caring for seriously ill youngsters.

Tŷ Gobaith Children’s Hospice in the Conwy Valley and Hope House in Oswestry will benefit from the efforts of Anthony Jones, Jenny Wilson and Sioned Jones, who all work at Sional Promotional Merchandising.

Anthony has landed a much-coveted place in the Virgin London Marathon, joining thousands of others on April 22, following in the footsteps of champion runners Daniel Wanjiru and Mary Keitany, who are returning to defend their titles.

On May 19 Jenny and Sioned will be taking to the air for a tandem sky-dive from 10,000ft, which will see them free-fall for 30 seconds while strapped to an expert, before their parachute opens above the Shropshire countryside.

The three, along with other colleagues at Llanfairfechan-based Sional – and even the local postmen – will also be walking to the summit of Wales’ highest peak on July 1 for the charity’s Snowdon Trek.

Anthony, from Deganwy, has already completed several running challenges after taking up the sport with his brother Nathan.

The 28-year-old, who is hoping to raise around £500, said: “My first proper race was the Great Northern Run in 2009, which I did for Spinal Injury Association, because of a family connection. I managed it in just over two hours.

“My personal best time was one hour 30 minutes with the Conwy half marathon. I’ve also done the Snowdonia marathon four times.

“I was really pleased when I discovered that I had a place in the London Marathon as there are so many people wanting to do it – though Nathan was disappointed that he didn’t get through the ballot. He will be there to support me, though. I am hoping to complete it in three hours and 30 minutes, as it should be a bit easier than marathons I’ve previously ran.

“I am training by running two or three times a week, with a longer run each Sunday.

“Tŷ Gobaith is Sional’s charity of the year and we are headline sponsors of the Snowdon trek, providing all the T-shirts and other merchandise, so it seemed only right to fund raise for them with the London marathon. I’ll be wearing a Ty Gobaith t-shirt on the day.”

For Jenny, who looks after Sional’s embroidery machines, jumping from a plane, two miles high, on May 19 will be a dream come true.

The 39-year-old from Penmaenmawr will be fastened to an experienced sky-diver for the jump at Tilstock Airfield near Whitchurch, which promises astounding views on the way down.

Jenny, who is aiming to raise at least £400 with her jump, said: “I’ve always wanted to do this, it’s going to be really good fun. I just hope it’s not too bumpy when we land!

“Then I will be walking up Snowdon twice in a fortnight – the first for the Summer Solstice walk, as I’ve always wanted to do that – then I’ve got the Snowdon Trek. So that will keep me pretty fit this summer.”

Sioned, who co-founded the company 13 years ago with husband Alan, previously worked at Tŷ Gobaith as a nursing assistant, and the hospice retains a special place in her heart.

The keen horse rider, who also has a £400 target, said: “I visited the hospice again recently and it was wonderful to see how it has expanded to offer more services and help more families. The children were just as happy and well looked after, and everybody who works there is so inspirational.

“The sky-dive is going to be a challenge but it’s one that will be worth it. However, I think walking up Snowdon may be even more of a challenge, though it will be a great team atmosphere. We are all trying to do more exercise to get fit for it.”

Tŷ Gobaith and Hope House provide care and support to life-limited children, young people and their families from Shropshire, Cheshire, North and Mid Wales.

The charity is hoping to recruit around 300 walkers for the Snowdon trek to raise at least £30,000 towards its running costs – it needs £6.3 million every year to keep the two hospices open.

Each Snowdon Trek participant, who has to raise at least £100, will be wearing a t-shirt supplied by Sional for the nine-mile walk along the Llanberis Trail. Experienced mountain guides will be along the route and at the check in points to ensure everybody stays safe.

Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith fund-raiser Amanda Jones said: “We are very grateful to everybody who raises funds for the hospices. We have organised a number of events such as the sky-dive and many people make us their nominated charity when they take part in runs and other sporting events.

“We are already seeing a lot of people signing up for the sky-dive and the Snowdon Trek, and the money they raise will help us keep providing much-needed support for families.”

Sional supplies a wide range of promotional items for large companies through to local authorities, health trusts, hotels and sports clubs, as well as trade fairs and business conferences.

Its branded products include uniforms, sports clothing, pens, cups, banners, trophies, hi-vis workwear, banners, key-rings, wallets, toys, bags and umbrellas.

More details about the company at sional.co.uk

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