A CLOSELY contested public vote has seen a Parkinson’s UK fundraiser scoop this year’s Charity Today Awards’ UK Fundraiser of the Year award.
Chris Leek, 33, of Orpington, South East London was shortlisted as one of three finalists from the UK for his Enduroman Non-Wetsuit Arch2Arc Triathlon in which he raised £169,405.50 (inc Gift Aid).
Three charities will benefit from the funds raised; Parkinson’s UK, The Lewy Body Society and Age Concern Orpington and District.
Chris edged the public vote in what Charity Today’s Lee Rayment said was, ‘the most closely contested public vote he had witnessed during the voting process’.
Chris’ 51% just managed to pip Inspire Malawi’s Cheryl Rhodes’ and Gorse Academy’s 47.8%.
Third finalist Les Hayhoe picked up 1.2% of the public vote.
Chris took on this monumental challenge for his father Dennis, who has both Parkinson’s disease and Lewy bodies dementia and is cared for full-time by Chris’ mother, Linda.
Speaking of his accomplishment, Chris told Charity Today:
“I am completely lost for words. Unbelievable! Thank you to both the Charity Today Awards and Parkinson’s UK, none of this would have been possible without my team behind me. This one is for you guys!
“Thank you to everyone that voted, the support shown is overwhelming.”
Paul Jackson-Clark, Director of Engagement at Parkinson’s UK, said:
“Chris’s incredible fundraising for Parkinson’s UK, which was inspired by his dad, who is living with both Parkinson’s and Lewy body dementia, is the stuff of legend. Charity Today’s UK Fundraiser of the Year award is a fantastic way to recognise everything Chris has achieved – he is truly deserving.
“Chris’s efforts have helped us provide vital support to the Parkinson’s community right across the UK. Right now, as lockdown restrictions start to lift and life is moving towards a ‘new normal’, continued support from our amazing fundraisers like Chris helps us be there for people in the ways they need us right now, while also rapidly adapting our pioneering research so we can drive forward new treatments for Parkinson’s.”
To support the Parkinson’s UK emergency appeal, or for advice, information and support, visit www.parkinsons.org.uk or call their free, confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303.