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Paul Kennedy

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HR director raises £40,000 for local charity

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HR inspires: Paul Kennedy, HR Director of New Balance inspired a team to walk 140 miles with him to raise £40,000 for Cumbria flood victims.

Amid scenes of great euphoria and the popping of champagne corks, as the finishing tape was broken, the ‘Pound for Cumbria’ fundraising walk, which started from Warrington, New Balance’s European HQ in Cheshire, on Monday 22nd of February, finally finished, appropriately enough, at Dovenby Hall, the home of the Cumbria Community Foundation just outside Cockermouth on the afternoon of Friday 26th February, 140 grueling miles later.

The eight tired but jubilant walkers were greeted and congratulated at a reception given at Dovenby Hall attended by Tony Cunningham MP for Workington, Malcolm Wilson CEO of M-Sport, Jonathan Ram, New Balance’s Managing Director, John Grainger, Managing Director of Invest in Cumbria, and Councillor John Binky Armstrong, Mayor of Allerdale.

Paul Kennedy, HR Director of New Balance, replied, on behalf of the walking team, highlighting the challenges and complimenting them on their inspiring achievement. Then a cheque for £40,000, raised by New Balance, was handed over to the Cumbria Foundation. A vote of thanks was raised by Deb Muscat, the Foundation’s Grants Development Officer, on behalf of the Fund.

The fundraising walk’s proud ethic was summed up by Eddie McDermott, the walk’s co-ordinator and New Balance’s Director of Operations, when he said: “We wanted the walk to be a tribute to Cumbria and keep attention concentrated on the continuing plight of local hard-pressed families as well as raise money for the Cumbria Foundation which is such an anchor for local people in times of crisis.”

Adding, he commented: “Our factory in Flimby, where we manufacture our world-beating performance running shoes, was part of the area affected by the flooding and I do sense that there is some, almost poetical, link in the relationship between manufacturing industry and the local community. I believe they have their roots in the same cultural subsoil and that inspires the spirit of comradeship and solidarity, especially when disaster strikes such a devastating blow.”

The floods of November 2009 in Cumbria have directly affected over 1,500 households and businesses. Many families are still living in temporary accommodation and businesses are still closed, severely affecting local employment.

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