JT Dove has made a large donation to the Children’s Heart Unit Fund that has hit an incredible milestone and opened up a new opportunity.

The builder’s merchant has been avid an supporter of CHUF for more than five years now and this latest donation has pushed its contribution over the £100,000 mark.

It has also opened up an amazing opportunity for four merchant trainees to put business practice into action while raising funds for such a worthy cause.

Trainees Amy King (23), Jess Flynn (21), Adam Marriott (23) and Shaun Liddle (19 joined JT Dove MD Steve Robinson to donate the latest cheque for £28538.66 to CHUF’s Michelle Fortune. However, not ones to rest on their laurels, they have now decided they can do even better and have accepted CHUF’s Champions Challenge.

The funds to date have been raised by branch personnel across the North with around 150 staff taking part in activities like running marathons, washing vans and sponsored walks. One team member, James Gillespie, raised £750 by having his body waxed in the store in Hawick!

Encouraged and supported by Robinson, the four trainees will lead the new challenge. Working closely with the branch managers, they will put together a strategy to present to CHUF next month for raising a further £100,000 in the next 18 months – doubling the donations to date!

Robinson explained further: “Next year is our 150th anniversary and as a company we want to do something good for a worthy cause. Our four trainees have shown a huge interest in the fundraising side of the business so it seems perfect to tie the two together and enter the CHUF Champions Challenge. This will see us pitted against some of the best fundraisers so we will have our work cut out.

“It presented a perfect opportunity to challenge the trainees to create a strategic business plan on how they can raise so much money in such a short time, and then to actually execute it. Supported by the rest of the company, they will be learning great business management skills as well doing something positive for such a worthy cause. ”

The trainees' fundraising will be given a helping hand with three corporate events that are being organised to mark the 150th anniversary. These include a customer race day in April, a family fun day in June, and a supplier dinner in November. All three events expect to be well attended, with more than 300 people at each, so are perfect for raising a good chunk of the new target.

Fortune said: “As a charity in and at the heart of the North East, this kind of corporate support is invaluable to us. The CHUF Champions Challenge is going to be a lot of fun with, hopefully, a huge amount of money being raised to help children supported by the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital and six other district hospitals in the region.

"Thank you to JT Dove for their support so far and we look forward to the coming 18 months immensely.”

Pictured (L-R) are Adam Marriott, Shaun Liddle, Jess Flynn, Amy King, Steve Robinson and Michelle Fortune.