Members of staff from Cookstown based steel lintels and building components manufacturer Keystone Group are busy pounding the pavements in preparation for the 2022 Belfast City Marathon. Thirty employees are taking on the challenge in memory of their colleague, Ray Best, and are aiming to raise £10,000 for local health charity, Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke (NICHS), along the way.
Ray sadly passed away from a heart attack in February, aged just 45. Richard Ogle, Operations Manager at Keystone Group explains; “Everyone at Keystone Group was deeply shocked and saddened when Ray suddenly passed away. Ray was the last person you would think something like this would happen to. As a workplace, we take part in a daily step challenge and Ray would often win this with 30,000 steps a day. He was fit and healthy so when we received the news that Ray had sadly died it was a complete shock to everyone.”
“Ray had worked at Keystone Group for twenty years and was a valued member of the team. He was one of the good guys and was always willing to help. Ray’s death has really impacted his colleagues and friends here and we wanted to do something as a tribute. The idea of entering relay teams into the Belfast City Marathon came up at our Employee Forum and we quickly decided on NICHS as the charity we wanted to support because of their work raising awareness of, and trying to prevent, heart illnesses in Northern Ireland. We have six relay teams signed up and are looking forward to Marathon Sunday on 1st May.”
Regina Cox, Partnerships Manager at NI Chest Heart & Stroke adds; “Ray was a well-liked and much-respected team member at Keystone Group and his sudden passing from a heart attack is deeply sad. We are very thankful Keystone Group employees are running the upcoming Belfast City Marathon in memory of Ray and in support of our charity. Almost 90% of our care, prevention and research services are funded exclusively by public donations. Fundraising efforts like Keystone Group’s are vital in enabling us to continue to support the local community and provide life-changing services for people living with chest, heart and stroke conditions and their families.”
“Registration for the 2022 Belfast City Marathon is open until Friday 8th April and we would encourage businesses to sign up now in support of our charity. Taking on a charity fundraising challenge can bring a business and its employees many benefits. The opportunity to become closer as a team, boost morale and health and wellbeing benefits are just a few. A massive thank you to Keystone Group and we look forward to cheering on their relay teams at the marathon.”
To sign up to run the Belfast City Marathon in support of Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke, visit nichs.org.uk/BCM2022 To find out more about the many ways your organisation can help raise funds for the charity, visit nichs.org.uk/how-you-can-help/fundraise-at-work