SOME little blue friends have descended on digger giant JCB in a bid to raise thousands of pounds in memory of a colleague who lost her battle with cancer last month.
The group of JCB women will be dressing up as cartoon favourites The Smurfs for this year’s Race For Life in memory of Christine Elks, a principal engineer at JCB Earthmovers.
A total of 76 female employees, friends and family will don blue and white body suits, pull on white caps and blonde wigs and paint their faces blue as they transform into ‘Smurfettes’ for the 5km race at Trentham Gardens tomorrow.
The 43-year-old died in May after more than a year-long battle with cancer of the oesophagus.
Mrs Elks, of Uttoxeter, started work with the company in 1989 and played a leading role in product introductions and enhancements. She also acted as a mentor to young engineers and was well known for taking the time to give advice and technical support.
Her partner Bob Borsley – who works at the JCB World Parts Centre in Uttoxeter – thanked the ladies for their amazing support and the fund-raising tribute.
He said: “Christine had no idea that this was being arranged but she would have been very touched and humbled by the gesture from her colleagues.
“Myself and Christine’s parents, Edward and Rhoda, would like to thank all the girls for taking part in this special fund-raising event.
“It is fantastic that these wonderful people are taking the time to support such a great charity in this way.”
Calling themselves The ‘JCB Smurfmovers’, the fund-raising ladies will be hoping to match or beat last year’s total for Cancer Research UK of £10,500. In the last five years they have raised more than £40,000.
Organiser Sue Redding, PA to the JCB group purchasing director, who had a mastectomy in 2008 and a second in 2012, says everyone involved has been touched by cancer.
She said: “We have been doing the Race for Life for the past five years and have a different theme each time. We’ve been the JCB Tigger Diggers, JCB Pink Ladies, the JCBees and the JCB Army.
“This year we have decided to dedicate our efforts to Christine who sadly lost her battle against cancer last month. Christine worked at JCB Earthmovers which is why we have gone with the ‘Smurfmovers’ theme.
“Every girl in the group knows someone whose life has been touched by cancer which is why the event receives so much support. Race for Life is an amazing way to celebrate life but also serves as a reminder for those who have been lost to the disease.
“The JCB Smurfmovers will definitely stand out from the crowd but what’s inescapable is the power and strength that comes from thousands of women joining together to kick cancer where it hurts.”
Ms Redding also thanked everyone who has donated so far, for this or past events, and parcel carriers DHL who shipped The Smurf costumes from China free of charge.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the JCB Smurfmovers can visit www.justgiving.com/the-jcb-smurfmovers or text 70070, enter the code SOOZ54 and pledge an amount.