A charity night in memory of popular SSI worker Keith Bowler has raised more than £4,000 for the Cardiothoracic Trust Fund at The James Cook University Hospital.
Keith attended the cardiac rehabilitation unit at the Middlesbrough hospital in 2006 and his wife Jan wanted to give something back to the unit to thank the staff for their support.
Donations collected at Keith’s funeral raised £1,742 but the fundraising did not stop there. Workmates and friends teamed up to organise a huge charity night which included a comedian, live music, auction, games and raffle raising a further £4,250.
Jan said: “Keith would have been amazed at the support from all of you and at the money raised – you all did him proud, and you have made me feel humbled and proud. The event has given me and our sons Mark and Darren a great deal of comfort knowing how much Keith was cared about particularly among his workmates. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”
Keith spent his working life doing what he loved best – blast furnace engineering at the Teesside plant.
Former colleague Sandy Mackenzie said: “Keith was always a respected and popular manager and work colleague. He was also an all round sportsman who supported charity causes by participation, notably The London Marathon and the Great North Run and he was also a prolific footballer, who in the early 1970s played for Marske United, Whitby Town and Darlington.
“He was a true gentleman who is missed by all who knew him.”
The cardiac rehabilitation unit at James Cook is made up of a team of nurses, physiotherapists, medical staff, dieticians, pharmacists, healthcare assistants and clerical staff. Its aim is to help people with heart conditions get back on their feet again – physically, emotionally, socially and vocationally.
Esther Carr, deputy manager for cardiac rehabilitation, who was presented with a cheque at the Riverside Stadium before Friday’s home game with Sheffield Wednesday, said: “Cardiac rehabilitation helps people to make changes to their lifestyle, regain their confidence, recover psychologically, deal with social issues and live longer.
“We would like to thank everyone who has helped to raise such a fantastic amount for the rehab unit. This will help us enhance services for future patients as well as raising awareness about our work.”