Widnes Vikings star leaves pitch for garden party

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Gil Dudson, Widnes Vikings, judging gardens competition.  John TJohn Timms, a 75-year-old Grandad from Runcorn, who recently completed a 100-mile trek in memory of his late wife, presented a cheque for over £3000 to St Luke’s Care Home, in Widnes, on Friday 12 August. Vikings star player, Gil Dudson, left the pitch to visit the specialist dementia care home to give a special thank you to the phenomenal fundraiser. 

John Timms walked for six days along five canals from Birmingham to Runcorn, with his son Dave and friend Derek Gates, in an incredible fundraising feat in May. The group took on the challenge to honour their much-loved wife, mother and friend, Marian, on the first anniversary of her passing away. The trio were collectively 189 years old and the money they raised will go towards the creation of a beautiful therapeutic sensory garden space at the home.

St Luke’s Care Home, where Marian was a resident in the months before she passed away, is part of national health and social care charity, Community Integrated Care. John has remained a firm supporter of the charity and visits the home every week.

To thank John for his incredible achievement the home hosted a very special celebration event, bringing together staff, people supported and their families, for a sunny garden party. Vikings star Gil Dudson was the guest of honour, bringing lots of joy and excitement to all the party-goers!

The celebration officially launched the home’s new gardens, which were created by the home’s staff, as part of a special team-building challenge and supported by John’s fundraising efforts. Staff members were divided into four teams, each creating their own themed area – including a sensory fairy garden, an oriental garden and a classic English country garden.

The gardening competition was judged by Gil Dudson, who is sponsored by Community Integrated Care. The charity has a unique partnership with the Super League Club, and St Luke’s benefits from this by having fortnightly activity and reminiscence sessions, delivered by the club’s community coaches and legendary players.

Fundraising superstar, John Timms, said: “St Luke’s were absolutely brilliant in caring for my wife and I can’t speak highly enough of them. They not only cared for Marian but looked after me and all of our family. I’m just glad to be able to give a little something back.”

He continues: “I’m really touched at the effort St Luke’s has gone to with this celebration. I can’t believe the amazing gardens that the staff have created! They will offer such a stimulating and calming environment for residents and I know my friends who live here will love them. As a big Widnes Vikings fan I was delighted that Gil Dudson came down to judge the gardening competition and support the event – and he presented me with a personalised rugby shirt signed by the whole team as a thank you!”

Gil Dudson had plenty of praise for John’s fundraising efforts. He said: “The amount of money John has raised for St Luke’s is outstanding. What he’s done for the home, and the gardens the staff have managed to create is just brilliant!”

The fundraisers also raised the same amount for Halton Radio at Halton General Hospital, which Derek Gates is a Trustee of, as part of this 100 mile walk.

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