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10 hour spinners pedal to £22,000 for Cardiac causes

A ten hour charity spinathon has raised well over £22,000 for The Forever Friends Appeal (specifically for the Cardiology Unit at the Royal United Hospital in Bath) and the British Heart Foundation, smashing the initial fundraising target. The event held on 5th March in Southgate Bath was organised by local businessman Rob Walsh and spin teacher Tash Hillier, who have both experienced the devastating impact of heart attacks with in their families.

On the day 100 hardy cyclists took to the 53 spin bikes to pedal for the cardiac causes. Many formed teams to share the work but a brave 35, including the two organisers, completed the full ten hours in the saddle. To add to the incredible support each individual bike was sponsored by local businesses, an auction was held and over £3,000 alone was donated in collection buckets by the generous general public on the day.

The spinathon was an important and emotional project for Rob and Tash and the spinathon’s success has completely blown them away. Rob Walsh explains:

“Last June I lost my brother, Neil, unexpectedly through a heart attack.  As you can imagine this was a devastating loss for me and my family.  But what is very important to me is to turn this tragedy into something positive.

Having found out that my Spin Class Instructor Tash Hillier experienced the loss of her father last year as well, also through a heart attack, we hatched the idea of a 10 hour ‘Spinathon’ never done before in the Bath area, to raise money both for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and the Cardiac Unit at Bath’s Royal United Hospital, where our loved ones were treated.

Our initial aim was to raise £10,000 to be split between each charity but the event just gained more and more support and so the donations just kept coming! Tash and I are amazed and extremely grateful for all the support of the cyclists, spin instructors, bucket shakers, sponsors, event administrators and of course the people of Bath. Thanks also to the Bath MP Ben Howlett who took the time to join us and cycle on one of the bikes during the afternoon.”

Rob Walsh and Tash Hillier have been up to the RUH to present staff in Cardiology with £11,000 – their share raised from the spinathon. It will be put towards the purchase of a Balloon Pump on the Cardiology Unit. This lifesaving piece of equipment is used when patients need to be resuscitated by manipulating the heart to beat using a state of the art computer system.

Helen Twemlow, Head of Adult Technical Services for Cardiology at the RUH said: “Rob and Tash have done an amazing job organising the Spinathon… what a phenomenal achievement to raise so much money that will help patients and such an amazing way to remember their loved ones. The department are absolutely delighted to know that with their help, the new balloon pump is very much in sight and will allow us continue lifesaving care with the most technologically advanced equipment available. We’re also really impressed that they’ve chosen to fundraise with an aerobic activity that really gets the heart going! ”

Rob and Tash have had so much fun organising the Spinathon that they are already planning another one for next year, with the idea to keep fundraising until they’ve reached £100,000 for RUH Cardiology and the British Heart Foundation. The date is set for Saturday 6th May 2017 and the organisers are now seeking local business who may be interested in sponsoring a bike! If you would like more information please contact Rob Walsh at Rob.Walsh@cvag.co.uk

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