Dr Kershaw’s junior fundraiser Keira honoured with Pride of Manchester Award

13-YEAR-OLD Keira Arnold who has raised more than £36,000 for Dr Kershaw’s Hospice has received a presitgiuous Pride of Manchester Teenager of Courage Award.

The Derker teenager has been fundraising for the Royton-based Hospice for more than four years, with her ‘Keira’s Wishes’ initiative helping provide patients with their last wishes whilst at the Hospice.

Keira was surprised with her Award by Hits Radio presenters Gemma Atkinson and Wes Butters before attending the official awards event hosted by TV star Kym Marsh at the Midland Hotel in Manchester in May.

Teenager fundraiser Keira Arnold, receives a surprise Pride of Manchester Award from Hits Radio presenters Gemma Atkinson and Wes Butters, at Castle Quay in Manchester

Keira started her fundraising journey for Dr Kershaw’s after her dad was cared for there before he died aged 28, and her aim has been to help make special memories for patients and their families.

Her fund has enabled patients to enjoy precious weddings, early Christmas days, trips to the seaside, and just the chance for patients to have their favourite tipple or a chippy tea.

Recently, Keira also used some of her funds to buy smart TVs for each of the 12 beds in the Hospice’s new In-Patient Unit, enabling patients to enjoy their favourite programmes in the comfort of their own rooms.

Keira’s fundraising activities have seen her organising hugely successful virtual markets during the pandemic, supporting both small local businesses and the Hospice.

She’s also organised many celebration day raffles, asking local businesses to support with prizes, and has used her craft skills to make and sell anything from cards and baubles to dream catchers, wreaths and bookmarks, with all the proceeds going to ‘Keira’s Wishes.’

The Pride of Manchester Awards in partnership with the Manchester Evening News and TSB, celebrate the achievements of truly remarkable people who make our world a better place.

The regional winners in each category – Manchester, Birmingham and the North East – then feed into being considered for the shortlist for the national Pride of Britain Awards, screened each year on ITV.

Joanne Sloan, Dr Kershaw’s CEO, said: “Keira’s support, dedication and enthusiasm for her fundraising has been awe-inspiring over the past few years.

“For a young person of her age to be so committed and so supportive of our Hospice and patients is just so wonderful to see.

“Keira truly deserves the Pride of Manchester Award. She is an inspirational young lady and we can’t thank her enough for all she does for us and for the special memories she gives to our patients and their families.”

Santa and Keira Arnold delivering Christmas presents in December 2020 thanks to Keira’s Wishes

Keira’s mum, Stacey Arnold, accompanied her along with her grandma, Julie Smith, to the Awards event.

She said: “When I heard Keira had won The Pride Of Manchester Award I was completely shocked but so very happy for her!

“Her fundraising to help other people is what makes Keira her happiest but I think it’s lovely that somebody took the time to nominate her and show Keira she really does make a difference.”

Keira said: “I am really shocked to have won this wonderful Award. It’s so nice to know that people like what I do.

“Helping other families makes me really happy, especially in difficult times. It inspires me to keep going.”

She said her target is to raise £1 million to make more wishes come true.

“That would be my one wish, so that I can help even more people,” she said. “But I’m not really planning on stopping at all. I just want the best for everyone.”

Earlier this year, Keira was also named as Oldham’s Young Citizen of the Year 2020 and presented with The Mayor of Oldham’s Appreciation Award for her passion and determination in supporting her local Hospice.

In previous years Keira has received a number of awards for her extraordinary support and fundraising efforts for Dr Kershaw’s, being named as National Young Fundraiser of the Year in 2018, followed by being presented the Mayor of Manchester Special Recognition Award and the prestigious Diana Award.

If you are interested in taking on your own fundraising challenge to support Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, call the Hospice’s Fundraising Team on 0161 624 9984 or visit www.drkh.org.uk

The Pride of Manchester Awards was livestreamed on the Pride of Britain’s Facebook page and YouTube channel on Thursday, May 27 and can be watched on both Facebook and YouTube.

Dr Kershaw’s Hospice provides free, specialist, end-of-life and palliative care for adults with life-limiting illnesses in Oldham and its surrounding areas in a peaceful and homely environment.

The Hospice opened in 1989 following the conversion and development of a 1930s cottage hospital originally built with a legacy from Dr John Kershaw, a local GP.

The Hospice has a team of dedicated clinical staff who support patients in the Hospice’s In-Patient Unit and Well-being Centre (day patient facility), along with supporting patients in the community through their Hospice at Home service and Caring Hands, the Hospice’s domiciliary service.

To find out more about Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, visit www.drkh.org.uk or call the Hospice on 0161 624 2727.

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