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From Rodley to Leeds: Armley man leads charity walk in memory of close friend

A close-knit group of friends from Leeds have completed a special annual walk to raise funds for the hospice that cared for their friend at the end of his life.

Organised by John Bell, who lives in Armley, the group of 12 took on a six-mile walk on Sunday, 16 October in memory of Jason Salvin, who received palliative care at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley before he died in November 2020 aged 48.

“Jason was initially diagnosed with cancer in 2017, but he responded well to treatment and was eventually given the all-clear which we were all over the moon about,” said John. “However, as is often the case, the cancer came back, and when it returned sadly there was nothing more that could be done.

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“After this point it was all about quality of life and the team at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice were instrumental in making sure he could make the most of every opportunity, which I know meant a lot to him.”

Jason, with his wife Sarah

After Jason’s death, John organised a memory walk for their group of friends to give back to the hospice and say thank you for the care he had received. 

“I’d known Jason since I was about 10 years old and the friends who joined the walk were all part of that group,” said John. “We all grew up together and we’d been a band of brothers and sisters since we were that age. It’s a privilege to have friendships that have lasted that long and because we were so close we all felt Jason’s death very deeply. 

“The walk in October 2021 was something simple and uncomplicated we could do as a group of friends to remember and honour Jason, while raising funds for the hospice that helped him and his family through the toughest of times. It was a great day and I decided there and then that this was something I wanted to do every year as a way to help his name live on.”

This year’s memory walk started in Rodley and followed the canal into Leeds City Centre, finishing at one of Jason’s favourite pubs.

“Jason owned a production company and was a well-respected lighting designer within the entertainment industry, working extensively for a number of well-known theatres, clubs and pubs in Leeds and across the UK,” said John. “The White Swan is somewhere we associate with him so we thought it would be the perfect place to finish the walk and raise a glass in his memory.”

Jason Salvin working at the Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards

Michelle Darbyshire, Community Fundraiser at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, said: “We’re so grateful to John and his group of friends for organising this annual walk to support our hospice in memory of Jason. It’s a fitting way to come together and celebrate his life. 

“As a charity we’re reliant on our generous supporters donating and fundraising for us, which ensures we can continue to be there when it matters for people at the most difficult times of their lives.”

So far the group have collectively raised over £1,750. You can donate to their fundraising page here. 

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