Picture Keith TaylorStaff at North East property and energy firm the Banks Group have handed over a five-figure sum to charity after completing a successful year-long fundraising effort in support of the young son of one of their colleagues.

 

Employees at the Durham-based firm voted to adopt DEBRA, the national organisation working on behalf of people in the UK with the genetic skin blistering condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), as their charity of the year for 2014, and have now handed them a cheque for £11,000.

 

There are estimated to be around 5,000 living with EB across the UK, including two year-old Mason Crossley, son of Banks’ senior business development manager Miles Crossley.

 

It is an incurable condition which causes fragility of the skin and, in some cases, other internal membranes and organs, with blisters, open wounds and sores forming as a result of the slightest touch, rub or trauma.

 

EB came to national prominence a decade ago through the documentary The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off, which chronicled the experiences of Alnwick-born Jonny Kennedy, and is likely to affect one in every 17,000 live births.

 

Staff from across Banks’ different businesses and locations undertook a range of fundraising activities throughout the year, such as workplace lunches, raffles and other competitions.

 

Miles also organised several separate events in support of DEBRA himself, including cycle rides and golf days, and he also took on the Great North Run, finishing in a time of 1:36:01.

 

Miles Crossley says: “The Banks team’s fundraising work over the last year has been fantastic, and I’m truly touched by everyone’s support and generosity.

 

“It’s wonderful to be able to make such a big donation to DEBRA, which has provided invaluable support to our family and many others across the region and beyond.”

 

Catherine Fabi, who is part of Banks’ staff fundraising committee, adds: “Having such a close link to the charity’s work gave us a real incentive to raise as much as we could.

 

“We got a really enthusiastic response to the fundraising challenge right across the company, and handing over such an impressive amount made everyone’s hard work really worthwhile.”

Tony Eckersall, regional fundraising manager for DEBRA, says: “DEBRA are extremely grateful for the support from all the staff at the Banks Group for their dedication in raising valuable funds for DEBRA. It is very obvious from all the support shown that they have gone that extra mile for one of their colleagues whose son has the condition EB.

“This will help the charity provide the vital services that families are in need of from research, welfare healthcare support, and we wish the Banks Group all the very best with their charity activities for 2015 for their next charity.”

Banks’ charity of the year for 2015 will be announced in the near future.  For more information on supporting DEBRA, please visit www.debra.org.uk, contact Tony Eckersall via tony.eckersall@debra.org.uk, or follow @charityDEBRA on Twitter.