A St Helens hairdresser has walked over hot coals to raise funds for charity in memory of her much-loved grandad.
Leanne Burton, a stylist at Blow in Church Square Shopping Centre, took on the Stroke Association challenge – managing to cross the 1300F sizzling embers barefoot four times.
The 23-year-old is raising funds for the charity in memory of her grandad Roy Griffiths, who died a year ago following a stroke.
Leanne, who lives with her parents in Haydock, said: “It didn’t actually hurt at all. I’m not really sure why, but you couldn’t feel anything so I walked across them four times.
“It was about five metres long and the guy running it said you could do it again so I did, four times. They did a temperature reading before I started at it was 635C degrees at that point.”
Raising an impressive £200, Leanne is confident that her 78-year-old grandad would be proud of her and described how his loss has been a massive blow to the family.
“He was my best mate,” she said. “We used to all go round as a family every Sunday as he only lived just round the corner and on Mondays, when I work at the Blackbrook Working Men’s Club, he used to come in to the pub so he could walk me home.”
Roy died in December 2014, after never fully recovering from a major stroke in January 2013.
Leanne said: “The stroke took so much away from him. After that he was angry all the time and he couldn’t do things for himself.
He never gained enough strength back to even stand up so after about a year he just gave up. Then, quite suddenly really, he died.”
Tragically Leanne’s family were forced to deal with further losses as Roy’s wife, Joan died just four months later, in April 2015.
She said: “My gran had been fighting leukaemia for seven years, she had a few different types of it, but she suddenly got a blood clot which was one of the things that could happen with it and it killed her.
“She was 78 as well and they had been married 56 years. I’ve run the Race For Life in her name a few times and normally raise about £150 doing that for Cancer Research.”
Church Square Shopping Centre manager Steven Brogan said: “I am full of praise for Leanne for completing this challenge.
“I am sure that our shoppers will be more than happy to support her fundraising, as I know they are always generous with charity events.
“The Stroke Association does a lot of excellent work in the north west, supporting families affected by this condition.”
Leanne has been working at Blow, in Church Square, since April after six years in the hairdressing trade and trained at St Helen’s College before that.
Her charity fundraising isn’t going to end there as she is already deciding on her next money-making mission, once her slightly blistered feet have recovered.
“I haven’t got anything planned at the moment, but I’m always thinking about what I might do next,” she added.
Events officer at the Stroke Association Laura McMullin said: “All the money raised by Leanne and the rest of our firewalkers will go towards research into preventing strokes, and supporting thousands of stroke survivors and their families to adjust to a life after stroke.”
The Stroke Association is the UK’s leading stroke charity which campaigns to improve stroke care; supports people to make the best recovery they can and funds ground-breaking research to change the lives of people affected by stroke. For more information about stroke, ring the Helpline on 0303 30 33 100 or visit www.stroke.org.uk .
Anyone keen to sponsor Leanne for her barefoot hot coals walk can visit her page at www.justgiving.com/Leanne-Burton1 and pledge their contribution to The Stroke Association.
Church Square Shopping Centre is open daily and home to 60 stores – including H&M, Fat Face, BHS, Boots, Roman Fashions and Superdrug – along with independent retailers plus the busy St Mary’s Market. More details on festive opening times and special offers at www.churchsquaresthelens.co.uk