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Photograph of Russell WBHO employees standing on top of the Oxygen building
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Team smashes targets in Everest challenge

Fitting end to Mental Health Week with huge fundraising success !

Russell WBHO staff have smashed their fundraising, time and distance targets with an amazing charity challenge. The team of Mental Health First Aiders have raised £3,215, far exceeding their original £1,000 target, for construction mental health charity The Lighthouse Club.

The challenge, which took place at the end of National Mental Health Week on May 16th, saw 16 Russells employees take to the stairs of the 32-storey Oxygen Tower in Manchester’s Ancoats, in a bid to climb the height of Mount Everest. The team racked up 60,400 steps between them during 100 ascents of the tower, exceeding the 8,849m it would take to climb the world’s highest mountain.

Following proof of a negative Covid test and a Covid security briefing, the intrepid team set out at 8.30am. And, despite the surprising heat of the day, the distance was completed within three hours.

Olivia Lea, HR manager for Russell WBHO and one of the firm’s Mental Health First Aiders, said: “The team did amazingly well, and it was a great way to mark the end of Mental Health Week.

“It was really good fun and there was a healthy dose of competition in there too which made for an entertaining day.

“We’re clearly all fitter than we think because we finished in half the estimated time even though we ended up doing more than target 96 ascents, so we had chance to relax and enjoy the sun for a while after all our exertions.

“We’re absolutely over the moon to have smashed the fundraising total by so much.

“The £1,000 donation by the company to kick things off was genuinely amazing, and the generosity of our friends, families, colleagues and sub-contractors taking us over the £3,000 mark has been incredible.

“We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated and everyone who helped out on the day, especially Lisa’s husband Simon who was brilliant.

“Everyone is really proud of what we achieved, but we’ve already decided we need to go even bigger and better next year and hopefully we can make this an annual event.”

Russell WBHO has a dozen trained Mental Health First Aiders, acting as a first port of call for anyone who is struggling or for colleagues to share their worries. They can make referrals to a range of services, key to which is the support of The Lighthouse Club.

The money raised will go towards covering the cost of The Lighthouse Club’s 24/7 Helpline and App which provide support for construction workers and their families in times of need.

The team included: Olivia Lea, Darren Williams, Liesel McQueen, Cianan Hodgkinson, Lisa Cushworth, Jack Halewood, Liam Jones, Paul Douglas, Rob Wainwright, Richard Barker, Leo Frechou, Rob Clegg, John Millward and Building Student trainees Harry Warburton, Jake Nightingale, Kieran O’Connell, and Nathan Gollins.

Construction director John Millward, who completed the 100th ascent, said: “It was a brilliant day, well done to everyone involved and especially the organisers.

“There were so many great moments but I have to say my favourite was the amazing Liesel outpacing many of the younger lads and still arriving at the top as fresh as a daisy, leaving a few bruised egos behind her.”

Gareth Russell, joint managing director of the Manchester based main contractor, added: “It’s a fantastic achievement, the team has raised a huge amount of money for a very worthy cause. The support The Lighthouse Club provides to our industry is so important and we’re extremely proud of both the Mental Health First Aid initiative and the team’s determination to give something back in this way.”

Manchester-based Russell WBHO is a £160m main contractor with more than 200 direct employees, and manages many thousands of sub-contractors on site every year. The £80m Oxygen Tower in Store Street is Russell WBHO’s tallest project to date. Designed by Jon Matthews Architects for developer Property Alliance Group, the luxury accommodation scheme is set to complete before the end of the year will comprise 369 apartments, 12 townhouses a spa level with gym and 25m pool.

  • To sponsor the team’s efforts please use the Go Fund Me
  • Construction Industry 24/7 Helpline 1800 939 122
  • Date:
    20th May 2021
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