Meet a fundraiser - ASK Italian

Heather Campbell is the Internal Communications Assistant at ASK Italian, who have pledged to raise £1 million over three years for the hospital's new surgery centre. Last September the business took on their most ambitious project to date - the ASK Italian Grand Tour! Over the course of 22 days, and covering a total distance of 6,000 miles, ASK Italian teams cycled, walked and drove to every restaurant in the UK, raising money as they went.

Heather was involved throughout, both helping to organise the event and taking part herself. We asked her about her experience....

Tell us a little bit more about your role at ASK Italian, and how you got involved in the Grand Tour.

As the Internal Communications Assistant at ASK Italian, my role is all about engaging our team members, and making sure they have everything they need to run their restaurants. The success of the Grand Tour greatly relied on our teams and we wanted them to feel as excited about it as we were.

How did you spread the word about the tour to all your team members?

In the early days, we teased the Grand Tour in our weekly newsletter which gets sent to everyone in the business. We wanted to let them know that something really big was coming and to create lots of anticipation around it. As time went on, we put the Grand Tour more and more in the spotlight. We would update our Operations Managers at their monthly meeting to get them talking about it with their restaurants, and we created posters to put up in staff areas. Once the tour kicked off, I wanted to keep everyone engaged so I sent round a daily newsletter with all the gossip and photos from the previous day.

Why did you decide to get involved?

It was impossible not to get swept up in the excitement of it all, so I signed up to take part in the triathlon with a team, as well as the London walk. After signing up for these two events, I was offered the opportunity to participate in one of the serious cycle legs. The temptation of the challenge got the better of me so I signed up!

Catriona and walkers outside the hospital - Ask Italian Grand Tour
The ASK Italian Grand Tour reaches its final destination - Great Ormond Street Hospital

What do you like most about being a fundraiser?

The best thing was witnessing how much the hospital affects and touches people. In the lead-up to the tour, our restaurant teams did some turbo training outside their restaurants with a collection bucket, so some of us in the office decided to the same - in Marylebone station at rush hour! So many people approached us to ask what we were doing and who for, and after hearing that it was for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, donated generously. We turbo trained for six hours and raised £1,000.

What was your biggest achievement?

My biggest challenge was without a doubt the serious cycle - 600 miles in seven days! I signed up to the event eight weeks before it started. I didn't own a bike and I had never ridden a road bike before! For two months all I thought about and talked about was cycling.

After cycling 600 miles, my proudest moment was crossing the line in Truro with my colleague Nick. Seeing everyone at the finish line was an incredible experience that you can't put into words. I was so proud for never giving up, or even walking a single mile of it.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about supporting Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity?

Having had the opportunity to meet a number of current and ex-patients of the hospital, I would encourage anyone to support the charity. When you meet a young child who has gone through more than many adults in a lifetime and still come out smiling, you realise just what a special cause it is.