Wrexham Marks and Spencer store staff get physical for cancer charity

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Big hearted store staff were put through their paces to raise money for a cancer charity.

The team at Marks and Spencer at the Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre in Wrexham did a high intensity work-out in aid of Macmillan Cancer Care.

Among them was store manager George Lees who entered into the spirit of the occasion and wore a green wig and matching tutu.

From left, M&S staff members, Hannah Williams, Elin Bailey, Lydia Biggs, Emma Jones, George Lees, Emma Phillips, Serena Grey, Sarah Lord, Josie Morgan-Welton and Sian Hooson prepare for their sponsored work-out.

It was part of a month-long series of events which have raised a total of £5,000 for Macmillan.

George said: “It’s part of M&S strategy to raise money for good causes and there is no better causes than Macmillan Cancer Care.

“I’m absolutely delighted so many members of staff joined in with the fundraising and we have managed to raise such a fantastic amount.”

Mr Lees, dressed in a bright green wig and matching tutu, was speaking ahead of a half-hour sponsored work-out on the plaza outside the M&S Eagles Meadow store.

He said: “The sponsored work-out has been organised by our women’s wear section manager, Emma Jones, and I thought if you can’t beat them, join them.

“We have such an amazing team at the store and I’m only too happy to take part – although I knew the work-out was going to be very tough!”

Organiser Emma Jones said: “The idea was to raise funds for Macmillan through a half-hour Metafit session with a qualified instructor. I’m really pleased so many members of staff, members of the management team and friends agreed to join in.

“And, as usual in Wrexham, members of the public have been very generous and made lots of donations while the work-out was taking place.

“The main thing is to raise as much as we can for Macmillan Cancer Care while doing something just a little bit different.”

Louise Benson, M&S regional commercial operations manager for Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales, visited the Wrexham store to take part in the sponsored work-out.

She said: “Macmillan is such a good cause and taking part in a half-hour work out, however gruelling, is nothing compared to what those suffering from cancer must endure.

“The team at our Eagles Meadow store have worked extremely hard raising what is a fantastic amount of money over a period of weeks for such a good cause and I am thrilled to have been able to join them and lend my support.”

Kieron Timbers, a Metafit workout instructor and fitness manager at Total Fitness in Wrexham, led the 30 minute work-out.

He said: “What we were doing was high intensity interval training with lots of press-ups, bunny jumps, stretches and cardiovascular exercises. It was hard work and a really tough challenge if you don’t work-out regularly. Hopefully a few who took part will realise the benefit of regular fitness training.”

Even the police got involved courtesy of PCSO Sam Gostage who couldn’t resist joining in with a few press-ups.

He said: “I just had to join in and show my support. Everyone was working so hard and when the instructor waved at me to join in I thought why not?

“I think a sponsored work-out is a great idea and Macmillan Cancer Care is such a good cause. I’m only sorry I couldn’t do the full work-out but being in uniform made it a bit too difficult – that’s my excuse anyway!”

And while the work-out was taking place M&S restaurant customer assistant Jane Jarvis was very quietly raising funds for Macmillan through a sponsored silence.

Her colleague, master barista Amanda Hutchinson, says staying silent isn’t something that comes easily to Jane.

She said: “Normally you can’t shut her up! She had cards made letting customers know what she was doing and asking how she could help. People have been really generous and supported her.

“She raised a good amount which will be added to the store’s overall total. Everyone has joined in the fundraising and our customers have been as generous as ever. I think we are all proud of what we have achieved.”

The M&S fundraising campaign for Macmillan Cancer Care ended with 10 members of staff tackling a 12-mile sponsored walk from Eagles Meadow to Llangollen.

M&S Food Section Manager Katie said: “All the money we raised will be added to the overall store total raised for Macmillan Cancer Care.

“The generosity of the people of Wrexham has been amazing and we are all delighted to have raised such a fantastic amount of money for what is a very special and important charity.”

Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley was full of admiration for all the M&S fund-raisers.

He said: “Macmillan Cancer Care is a charity that is very close to the hearts of many people and deserves support. However, to raise more than £5,000 in just a few weeks is absolutely amazing.

“The whole M&S team deserve a pat on the back and a big thank you for their amazing effort. Well done to George Lees and his dedicated team.”