BAE’s support for Derian’s little Katy

Katy Holmes, 10, before her diagnosis of a brain tumour
Katy Holmes, 10, before her diagnosis of a brain tumour
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The Katy Holmes Trust has really taken off as workers at BAE Systems in Lancashire pledged to raise funds for the cause over the next 12 months.

Katy, 10, of Margaret Road, Penwortham, touched the hearts of the whole community when she was suddenly diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. She she lost her brave fight for life at Chorley’s Derian House in January.

Since then, her parents Paula and David Holmes have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of brain tumours. Around £10,000 has been raised for Derian House . Now the Katy Holmes Trust has been set up in memory of their daughter to fund research into paediatric tumours and prevent other families in the future from going through their pain.

Their campaign, backed by the Guardian’s sister paper the Lancashire Evening Post, has now been given a major boost . The Charity Challenge Team, which represents more than 12,000 employees across BAE Systems’ Warton and Samlesbury sites, have announced they will be supporting the Katy Holmes Trust along with Donna’s Dream House in Blackpool as their charities of the year.

All money raised through fundraising will go to the Katy Holmes Trust.

Over the last two years, BAE Systems has contributed almost 3,000 volunteering hours supporting ABF – The Soldiers Charity and last year alone, employees from the two Lancashire sites raised more than £70,000 for the charity.

Paula Holmes, who also has daughters Charley and four-month-old baby Scarlet, today described their overwhelming joy at BAE’s massive support for the charity being launched in Katy’s honour.

She and David visited the BAE Warton site where they were photographed with a Eurofighter Typhoon to symbolise the charities taking off with the support of BAE employees.

Paula said: “We are absolutely flabbergasted and astounded that BAE workers have decided to get behind the Katy Holmes Trust and we feel like we are on cloud nine as we never imagined anything so amazing.

“To know that Katy touched so many people in such a short space of time is very special to us. Our work with launching the Katy Holmes Trust to carry out research into paediatric brain tumours has come such a long way in a short time and the support of BAE employees will make such a huge difference.

“We are so grateful to everyone who has made this possible and to all the BAE workers who are already planning so many wonderful fundraising events.”

David Holmes added: “Katy would have been so proud to know so many people are doing so much to help others after being inspired by her.”

Employees at BAE have supported local and national charities through their Charity Challenge scheme for more than 20 years.

Employees are not only encouraged to raise funds for their chosen charity but also to become actively involved with the charity. Over the years, thousands of hours of volunteering have been donated to the charities to assist them.

The current Charity Challenge scheme has been reviewed and this has given employees at the two Lancashire sites the incentive to support two local charities that are very close to the hearts of many employees.

Andy Leahy, site director for the Warton site, said: “The Katy Holmes Trust struck a chord with a lot of our employees as she was a young girl and a lot of people who work at BAE have families of their own.”

“We have more than 12,000 employees across both sites and by focussing on two local charities, we will be able to have greater impact.”

Kevin Skinner, site integration manager at Warton said: “In the past, we have concentrated on large national and international charities. This has been valuable work, but we now want to concentrate on more local charities.

“Many of our employees have told us they want to support the Katy Holmes Trust as they have been humbled by the efforts of her parents to raise awareness and funds for research into brain tumours in extremely difficult circumstances.”