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Amazing Avtar completes epic 200 mile running challenge in memory of our fallen heroes

A Royal Derby Hospital porter has finally completed his mammoth two-month running challenge in memory of all of the NHS heroes who have sadly lost their own battles to Covid-19.

Avtar Samrai decided back in April that he wanted to help create a lasting memorial honouring those UHDB colleagues who are no longer with us – and so set himself the epic task of jogging three miles every day to raise the funds.

Fast forward 60 days and more than 200 miles later and Avtar has now well and truly smashed his initial £1,000 target, with his total passing the £5,400 mark when he brought his challenge to a close on Friday (26 June) by running from Royal Derby to London Road Community Hospital.

The whole UHDB family have really got behind Avtar’s campaign, so it was fitting then that he was joined by several colleagues, including members of the Trust’s Executive Team, for the final three mile jog, with the running party being greeted to music and rapturous applause at the finish line.

Avtar said: “I have had tremendous support from all of my colleagues who have ran with me and kept me going. The feeling on Friday was one of joy and at the same time sadness. It was so good to see so many of the senior management team turn out to support me on the jog, including ISS management, Board members, and staff from the Hand Clinic.

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“I felt the whole day paid tribute to our colleagues. l wanted something special and the music and the atmosphere said it all. It is something that I will always feel in my heart but it’s hard to explain the feeling in words.”

Avtar was inspired to begin his fundraising, after hearing the devastating news that UHDB consultants Mr Amged El-Hawrani and Mr Manjeet Singh Riyat had both passed away after contracting Covid-19.

He added: “I was off work myself for three weeks in self-isolation when I heard about Amged, which was quite upsetting, and then also Manjeet, from A&E at Royal Derby. He was a wonderful gentleman who looked after me when I was poorly in A&E.

“I woke up one morning thinking that I wanted to do something that would be a special everlasting memorial to honour all of the staff we have lost over these hard times – hence came up with the idea for the jog.”

Marie Gretton, Communications Officer for Derby & Burton Hospitals Charity, said: “It is brilliant to see such fantastic fundraising in support of our hospitals and in memory of those we have lost. We have seen Avtar go on an amazing journey since he started fundraising and with the support of everyone at UHDB have seen his fundraising explode. We know that the money raised will go a huge way in supporting our staff and we are so grateful for this gift – it means a great deal to us.”

To support Avtars fundraising, click here