Staff smash challenge set by colleague before she died aged 41

Cyclists returning to Heene Road, Worthing, from their rides
Cyclists returning to Heene Road, Worthing, from their rides

Staff at a Worthing firm have spent a week fundraising in memory of a former colleague - and smashed their initial target.

Retirement Advantage, in Heene Road, wanted to raise as much money as possible towards a cardiac ultrasound machine for Southampton General Hospital.

Jo Hale and Anil Uka with Gareth Sharp, Sarahs widower

Jo Hale and Anil Uka with Gareth Sharp, Sarahs widower

The huge fundraising week resulted in £15,000 being collected in memory of Sarah Sharp.

Paul Keeble, head of media, said: “Sarah sadly passed away towards the end of 2015. It was a huge loss that was felt by everyone and she was only 41 years of age.

“In typical Sarah style, however, she left a passionate, upbeat and detailed wish list of how she wanted her life to be celebrated, rather than mourned.

“A crucial part of her request was that her family, friends and colleagues do all that they can to support Southampton Hospital in their endeavours to raise £30,000 for a cardiac ultrasound machine.”

The welcoming committee at Retirement Advantage

The welcoming committee at Retirement Advantage

The machine plays a life-saving role for pregnant women with congenital heart defects. It is highly portable, being about the size of a laptop, so it can be taken to a patient’s bedside and set up quickly to run tests.

This means pregnant women will receive faster, better results and have appropriate medical management and care to optimise the safety of both mother and baby.

It will also help women with a cardiac condition and their families cope with the anxiety of being pregnant and help ensure a safe pregnancy and successful delivery.

Mr Keeble added: “With Sarah in our hearts and minds, we took the decision to focus all of our energies on a campaign to raise as much money as possible.

“Generously, Retirement Advantage promised to match anything we as employees raised, which of course only spurred us on even more.

“The whole company got behind the challenge and embarked upon a huge number of activities, including a charity ier to Pier walk, quiz night, curry evening, various raffles and prize draws, a bake-off and cycle rides - a static bicycle ride in reception plus two rides, 40 miles from Guildford to Worthing and 20 miles Southwater to Worthing.

“Our aim was to raise a total of £2,500, with the company promising to double that. On the final day of all the challenges, we had raised £7,500, with the company promise to match raising that to an amazing £15,000.

“We thought this would be fitting of her memory and was done with the full support of Sarah’s husband, and family.”

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