A fantastic launch night for The Running Bee Foundation!
On Tuesday 4th December, we launched something very special…
We were thrilled to host the official launch event of The Running Bee Foundation – a new charitable initiative to promote active and healthy lifestyles and help the ongoing fight against childhood obesity.
After a witty introduction from Granada broadcaster Rob Mcloughlin, Chris Bird, CEO of Sports Tours International, kicked things off in style hammering home the importance of initiatives like The Running Bee Foundation to not just those seeking to improve their lifestyle, but also to local communities:
“What we want to do is get more people active … We host activities all over the world, so our reach is very large. But we still wanted to look at our roots and what we’re about in our communities.
All shapes and sizes, young and old, everybody gets involved in our events.
We believe through what we’ve been doing that there’s still a lot more we can do. That’s why we’re introducing The Running Bee Foundation.”
Chris was also keen to highlight the inspiration behind the launch of the foundation:
“On July 7th this year, we lost a very close friend of ours … Mo Done.
She was our inspiration … I asked her permission if I could buy a Manchester Bee in her name and she was delighted!”
Now Mo the Bee overlooks Mo’s kitchen from the garden.”
A fitting tribute to a woman who touched so many people’s lives.
He also made it clear that The Running Bee Foundation is a one of a kind venture:
“We wanted to do something unique to our industry, nobody else does this … We wanted to make sure that all the money we made in every area where we work stays in those areas … and all profits go towards fighting childhood obesity.
We make great life experiences, now we’re going to change lives.”
Chris then made way for Sports Tours International’s ambassadors – real life examples of how fitness can make a change to someone’s life.
First up was Ron Hill MBE whose incredible achievements at 80 years old were something to behold:
“I’ve raced in over 100 countries across the world and I enjoyed every single one of them.
I’d say to young people activity and running is something great … I have Alzheimer’s and the fact that I can get out and walk does me a lot of good.
I love life and being active. I see myself as an example of how to enjoy life.”
Rhianna Parkinson spoke next – a prime example of how bouncing back from adversity can make all the difference in living a healthy lifestyle:
“I began my journey in a football academy system, but fell out of love with it. In fact, I fell out of love with sport for around 5 or 6 years.
Then around the time of the London Olympics I was so inspired by all the athletes … I decided to get myself fit again.
“I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to get back into, but with the help of local clubs and facilities I got there … I did my first IRONMAN in 2016 and in 2017 I qualified for the world championships!”
“All of us, whatever our involvement, is extremely lucky to be involved in sport in some way. If you have a love of sport it’s a lifelong love and it’s done incredible things for you. It’s only right to do that for others.
Sports Tours International is a great company that makes such a difference in people’s lives. At elite level or your first 5k … It’s a privilege.”
Kevin Harmer, Trustee of The Running Bee Foundation was then welcomed to stage and spoke of how even the smallest donations can make the world of difference:
“As long as the money comes in we can distribute it in the right ways.
Our target in year 1 is £50,000. Our top grant will be around £2000, but they will be so effective … even £500 or £250 can make a HUGE difference.”
Given how influential he has been to the entire process of The Running Bee Foundation, it was only right that Fred Done, Chairman of Sports Tours International said a few words about his experience with fitness:
“From leaving school to being 35 I did no exercise … A friend of mine told me I’d be a millionaire by 36 and dead by 37 … so I stopped smoking and now I exercise virtually every day of my life … Today I was in the gym for 3 hours!
I was fixated with business, I love it. But, there’s room for both business and exercise.”
Fred couldn’t leave the stage without mentioning his beloved Mo:
“She was in the gym every day with me … She loved working with people … Working class ‘till the day she died. I’m so proud of her.”
It was at this point, Chris surprised Fred with an official certificate recognising Mo the Bee. A truly touching moment for Fred and everyone in the room.
Lawrence Jones MBE, CEO of UKFast – the first official partner of The Running Bee Foundation – took the mic to discuss his approach to exercise and business which he felt was a key component of the inspiration behind getting active:
“The link between health and success is massively important … We didn’t want a huge empty space in our business so we built a gym in it. Now it’s too small! But it’s become the heart of the company.
Running is all about goals. Sometimes we don’t hit them but it’s what it makes of us on that journey that counts … I believe with people like the team at Sports Tours International anything is possible.
It took us about six months to get to this point. We need support and we need people to talk about it … If you live in one of these areas, please spread the word. We want to get people more active.”
Finally it was time for all to depart, but not without a few more surprises…
Firstly, Chris introduced Donna Thomas from The Anthony Seddon Fund. Donna began the fund back in 2014 after her son Anthony, after whom the fund is named, took his own life after a long struggle with bi-polar disorder. The fund offers immediate one-to-one support for those struggling with an array of mental health issues including depression, schizophrenia and others. After a heartwarming tribute to her son, Chris proudly surprised Donna with a donation of £500 to put towards furthering the fund’s amazing work for those in need.
Finally, The Running Bee Foundation’s official mascot Mo made an appearance and strutted her stuff on the way up to the front and many ran to her for a picture!
All in all the evening was an immeasurable success and, with the word of The Running Bee Foundation now available to the masses, there’s no telling just how crucial the evening’s proceedings will prove to be!
If you’d like to find out more about The Running Bee Foundation, Sports Tours International and all other relevant parties, you can visit