Jonathan Gardner, the chief executive of Bluebird Care, joined 13 of the company’s business partners, by running into the freezing English Channel for an early morning charity swim. Starting at 7am, the plucky men and women from Bluebird braved the onslaught of Storm Agnes to raise more than £6k for the British Heart Foundation.
Cheered on by less adventurous members of the franchise community, this dip took place on the morning of Bluebird’s annual conference. The sponsored dip was organised by Jane Perry, who owns and runs the Bluebird territories of Glasgow South, Edinburgh and Ayrshire.
This particular charity has a personal connection to Jane, as several members of her family are also affected by heart disease. Jane, herself, decided to undergo genetic testing and discovered that she too suffers from a heart condition.
Following this stark news, Jane began open water swimming which she says will help her to maintain a healthy lifestyle. And, in 2023, she wanted to do something special to mark World Heart Day in support of the British Heart Foundation.
Jane explained: “Heart disease is something that has sadly affected my family and people close to me. I know first-hand how vitally important the work of the British Heart Foundation is.
“There are increasing numbers of people affected by heart disease, and I want to raise awareness to make certain that people know how to spot the signs and symptoms. They also need to know where to get support and information on this vital subject.
“I usually take to the waters of the North Sea, so this was like being in Majorca for me. But I applaud the brave colleagues who followed me in and helped to raise money for this very important cause.”
Bluebird’s annual conference, at The Brighton Grand, brought together more than 200 of their franchise owners from across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The money raised by the swim will go towards funding live-saving research.
Thanks to the British Heart Foundation, the number of people dying from heart and circulatory disease in the UK has halved. But funds are vitally important to create new treatments and discover new cures.
Jonathan Gardner, Bluebird’s chief executive and managing director, added: “My thanks go to Jane for organising such a successful, if slightly cold, event. It was great to see everyone up bright and early in support of Jane, her family, and all those affected by heart conditions.
“Despite it being a little blustery, everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. It certainly set us all up for a full day at the conference. Every contribution and donation mattered, and it was testament to Bluebird Care’s founding values: kind, caring, and passionate.”