Sally Gunnell leads Sport Relief fundraiser at Stevenage’s GlaxoSmithKline

Sally Gunnell cuts the ribbon at the start of the GlaxoSmithKline fundraiser in Stevenage. Picture: Danny Loo

Sally Gunnell cuts the ribbon at the start of the GlaxoSmithKline fundraiser in Stevenage. Picture: Danny Loo

© 2018 Danny Loo, All Rights Reserved

Legendary Olympic athlete Sally Gunnell was in Stevenage today as part of Sport Relief’s fundraising to wipe out malaria.

Sally, the only woman to win European, World, Commonwealth and Olympic 400m hurdles titles, was at pharmaceuticals firm GlaxoSmithKline – which works with charity Comic Relief to fight malaria in Africa and Asia.

After speaking to employees at the company’s research and development hub off Gunnels Wood Road, she led them on a charity walk as part of Step Up – a Sport Relief challenge in which workplaces battle it out to achieve the highest average daily step count in aid of the charity.

Sport Relief has been held by Comic Relief every other year since 2002 – and speaking exclusively to the Comet, Sally said it was amazing to see how the initiative had grown.

“I was involved almost from day one, and now so much money is raised and so many people get involved and want to be part of it,” she said.

“It’s amazing to see companies like GSK really putting a lot of money behind it, and really supporting and getting all their employees behind it as well.

“It’s making a big difference and it’s what Sport Relief is all about, really. You watch it on TV and it’s one thing, but getting the opportunity to go and see how companies are raising money and what their involvement is – I think everybody in a company like this, which is very big, knows they’re making such a difference. Not just around malaria, but in all sorts of ways as well.

“For Sport Relief to be able to link up with GSK is an enormous step forward.”

GSK and Comic Relief’s partnership operates in Ghana, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and the Greater Mekong Subregion in Asia – made up of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam and parts of China.

Paul Life, who heads GSK’s Stevenage site, said it was great to see so many colleagues turn out to show support, learn about the five-year partnership and take part in the walk with Sally.

“Malaria claims almost half a million lives every year, so by joining forces with Comic Relief, we are supporting communities to fight this disease,” he said.

Sally urged readers to download the app and get involved in Step Up, or find out more ways to support Sport Relief online. See sportrelief.com.

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