Sussex students raise over £23,000 for charity, with week-long seafront run
Posted on behalf of: Sussexsport
Last updated: Thursday, 11 March 2021
The University’s Men’s Rugby Club have raised over £23,000 for the Samaritans Emergency Appeal in just over a week of fundraising.
The Club set themselves the ambitious challenge of a week-long, non-stop relay run along the Brighton & Hove seafront, with 65 members taking turns to run in one-hour slots, day and night, from 1–7 March.
In 168 hours of running, the self-named ‘Sussex Samaritans’ covered 3,439 kilometres, a distance almost equivalent to the diameter of the Moon.
If you were taking your daily exercise on Brighton seafront last week, chances are you may have seen some of the students running between Brighton Palace Pier and the British Airways i360, kitted out in green tutus to raise awareness for the Samaritans charity.
The Club chose the colour green to match the shade of ribbon used to symbolise international mental health awareness, and the tutus helped them to stand out from other runners on the seafront.
The Samaritans Emergency Appeal is a call for funding to help ensure listening volunteers are able to respond to calls, providing emotional support for those in need during the Coronavirus pandemic.
As a show of support for the Samaritans' helpline operators – who are available all hours of the day and night, every day of the week – the Club chose to run around the clock for their seven-day fundraiser.
More than 930 supporters have helped the students to surpass their initial fundraising target of £6,000. And the current £23,000 total raised could help to fund more than 4,500 potentially life-saving phone calls.
The incredible amount raised is the second highest sum that the Samaritans have received for their Emergency Appeal via JustGiving.
Susie McGowan, Branch Director at Brighton Samaritans, thanked the Club for their fundraising efforts, which will help to provide a lifeline for those in need. She said:
“Congratulations and a massive thank you to everyone in the University of Sussex Rugby Club who participated in this exhausting challenge.
“Their inspiring efforts are a positive story we all need right now, and their fantastic fundraising will ensure our listening volunteers can continue to provide emotional support to those who need it, during what is an incredibly difficult time.”
Sussex’s Men’s Rugby Club are well known for organising large fundraisers for charitable organisations. Every year they run the Brighton Half Marathon in aid of the Rugby Football Union Injured Players Foundation.
But their latest challenge was the most successful fundraiser to date, raising the largest amount for a single charity in the Club’s history, and a record amount by any of the University’s student clubs and societies.
Fergus Hamilton-Jones, Vice President of the Men’s Rugby Club and Philosophy undergraduate at Sussex, said:
“Whilst our week of effort pales in comparison to the work of the Samaritans and other emergency services over the course of the pandemic, the challenge was our way of showing our appreciation.
“The week was incredibly tough: with blisters, cramp, joint pains and three utterly threadbare green tutus by the end of the challenge.
“Waking up, running at all sorts of random hours isn’t something you’re ever prepared for. One day you’ve got the 4am shift and then next thing you know you’re back on with another shift at 9pm. But it is a week none of us will ever forget.
“With the sub-zero temperatures came stunning sunsets and sunrises, and the beauty of Brighton was well and truly appreciated. The Club really pulled together during a disconnected time in a show of appreciation for all those services that work tirelessly to save lives.”
- There’s still time to donate via the Club's JustGiving page.
You can find out more about Sussex Students’ Union clubs and societies, who are fundraising for some amazing local and national charities during RAG week, on the Students' Union's events pages.