Local pizzeria raises £1800 during Macmillan charity week

 Pizza making has reached new heights after two pizzeria managers flared dough atop Snowdon Mountain, with a Leeds pizzeria contributing to the cause and raising £1800 over the course of the week.



Pizzeria managers, John Henderson-Smith and Darren Gray from Glasgow and Gretna have taken part in an incredible 10 peak challenge for charity – by doing the five peak challenge TWICE.

Upon reaching the summit of the highest mountain in Wales, the PizzaExpress team celebrated the chain’s £2 million fundraising efforts for Macmillan Cancer Support by flaring a pizza base.

In support, PizzaExpress Birstall in Leeds held a variety of great fundraising activities. This included two chefs cycling 75 miles to the beach front in Scarborough, stopping at the Macmillan offices along the way, whilst the restaurant team completed a 26 mile walk from Skipton back to the restaurant! On-site, they ran games for customers throughout the week, as well as a fancy dress day where team members dressed up as Toy Story characters.

The pizza toss, believed to be the highest ever performed, was captured on camera in a series of dramatic images amid stunning natural surroundings.

PizzaExpress have been in partnership with Macmillan since 2016, raising £2 million to help the charity achieve its mission of being right there for everyone living with cancer in the UK.  Macmillan offers a wide range of physical, emotional and financial support – from a free phone line to dedicated Macmillan professionals – to help people navigate everything that cancer may throw their way.

Darren, who manages the Gretna Gateway branch, said: “I lost my dad, uncle and grandpa to cancer over the period of six months – it was devastating to the entire family on many, many levels.

“So unfortunately, like millions of people all over the world I know the impact of this horrible disease on sufferers and their loved ones too.

“Raising money for such a vital charity means a great deal to me and my family – and to do it by hiking across these beautiful surroundings makes it even more poignant.”

The gruelling trek which ultimately took the duo 6 days – covering 66.8 miles and heights of 4,953 metres – and they hope their efforts will raise upwards of £10,000.

In completing the epic feat, the pizza bosses managed to overcome extreme heat, torrential rain and strong winds – not forgetting 10 months of punishing training before they even began.

Along with Snowdon, the five peaks include England’s Scaffel Pike, Scotland’s Ben Nevis, Northern Ireland’s Slieve Donard and Ireland’s Carrantouhill.

Sally Hill, Partnership Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support said: “We’re extremely grateful to Darren and John, as well everybody at PizzaExpress for raising £2 million for people living with cancer. Macmillan is almost entirely funded by donations, so the support of our partners and their customers, from buying a Padana pizza to completing an epic challenge such as this, is crucial in enabling us to continue our work.”

In addition to celebrating PizzaExpress’ multimillion-pound fundraising efforts, Darren and John’s exploits also marked the restaurant chain’s 54th birthday.

John, manager of the Glasgow Byres Road branch, said: “I feel fortunate to have completed the 10 peaks challenge – it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but is nothing compared to what cancer sufferers and their families go through.

“To have been involved in this and to have shared it with Darren is something I’ll never forget.”


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