St Oswald’s Hospice volunteer Vikki Bennett, from Gosforth, recently raised over £3000 for the Hospice by completing forty challenges before her 40th birthday.

Vikki decided 18 months before her big birthday that she wanted to do something amazing to celebrate.  She wanted to not only mark turning forty, she also wanted to raise money in memory of Dave Crozier, a close friend’s dad who died at the Hospice in February 2014.  Vikki said:

“The staff at St Oswald’s did a fantastic job making Dave and his family’s difficult time as comfortable as possible – raising money for the Hospice was a way to say thank you and I’m absolutely thrilled with the amount I raised.

“St Oswald’s is also a very special place for me as I volunteer in the craft room and patient transport service.  I’ve always been a supporter of the Hospice but when I was made redundant in 2012 due to long term ill health, volunteering has been a way for me to get my confidence back.

“This is part of the reason why I decided to raise money specifically for therapeutic activities and the craft room – to help patients take their mind off their illness and hopefully help to ease any physical or emotional pain they may experience.  As I volunteer in the craft room I’m able to see the money being put to good use, which is lovely and makes it even more worthwhile.”

Many of the events and activities that Vikki completed were extreme challenges, demonstrating just how far she wanted to push herself to raise money for St Oswald’s.  The forty challenges included the Great North Run, Great North Swim, holding a tarantula, a skydive, posting a selfie and inspirational quote on social media every day and more.  She continued:
“I’m not an adrenaline junkie at all so setting myself a lot of physical challenges really tested me.  Every experience challenged me in a different way.  I have a phobia of spiders so holding a tarantula was absolutely terrifying.  Due to health issues I’m not meant to do too much physical activity but I wanted to prove that I still could and I’m very shy, so giving a presentation at the St Oswald’s Life List Awards certainly didn’t come naturally to me.”

Fiona Clark, Art and Therapeutic Activities Facilitator at St Oswald’s said:
“Huge thank you and congratulations to Vikki for turning 40 whilst setting herself a whole host of exhausting challenges!  These endeavours have raised a fantastic amount for the craft room and will help fund therapeutic activities, as well as our day to day costs for quite some time.  Vikki is a fantastic volunteer and we massively appreciate everything she does.”

Vikki ended:
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored me during my challenges.  I was overwhelmed with all of the support I received from friends, family and St Oswald’s staff, volunteers and patients.  I managed to complete all of my challenges apart from one – meeting Ant and Dec.  That is still on the list though and hopefully one day I’ll be able to meet them!”

If you’d like to find out more or to donate please visit www.justgiving.com/Victoria-Bennett77
If you’d like learn more about volunteering at St Oswald’s please visit http://www.stoswaldsuk.org/get-involved/volunteer-with-us.aspx