• 11 September 2019
  • Leyland
  • Steve Whelan

Young Chorley fundraiser keeps on trucking for St Catherine’s

James Woodhouse goes the extra mile

James Woodhouse centre with his classmates
James centre with his classmates

A nine-year-old boy from Clayton-le-Woods has been presented with a special gift by Leyland Trucks, after his fundraising efforts singlehandedly brought in more than five per cent of the manufacturer’s £16,000 charity donation to St Catherine’s Hospice.


James Woodhouse, whose father works at Leyland Trucks, was one of 110 novice riders and cycling enthusiasts to take part in the firm’s 2019 Factory to Festival challenge.


Despite his young age, James raised £950 of the total donation, more than any other participant.


As a thank you to James and his classmates at Clayton-le-Woods Primary School, who helped him with his fundraising efforts, Leyland Trucks invited the class to visit the factory and has awarded James with a model truck and some gift vouchers.


This year’s annual event saw riders take on one of three routes - 30, 80 and 115 miles - in tough weather conditions, with the more challenging routes covering some notorious climbs and descents throughout the Lancashire countryside and beyond.


Starting at Leyland Trucks’ advanced manufacturing facility, the charity bike ride finished at Worden Park, which played host to this year’s Leyland Festival event and attracted more than 10,000 visitors throughout the day.


James explained how he was inspired to rise to the challenge: “I wanted to do the bike ride with my dad and, when I found out why we were collecting money, I promised to raise as much as I could.  At first I thought I would get to keep the money, but I tried even harder once I was told how it would help people at the Hospice through sponsorship.”


James raised almost £1,000 by rallying friends, family, schoolmates, parents and teachers. His passion for the cause inspired dozens of people to donate to St Catherine’s, which costs £5.6million each year to run and must raise £3.8million of that from fundraising events.


James’ dad, Phil Woodhouse, Manufacturing Engineer at Leyland Trucks added: “We’re so proud of James for throwing himself into fundraising and for the way he handled the bike ride on the day.  Conditions were tough, so it was great to be riding alongside my son who was so motivated.  To hear that he raised more money than anyone else involved is incredible. He’s got the fundraising bug and is now planning another, longer race for charity. We’re all intrigued to see what he’ll achieve next!”


As a household name in Lancashire and one of Britain’s best-known manufacturers, Leyland Trucks’ Helping Hand charity committee has to-date raised more than £1million for local causes. It ensures each donation creates a positive legacy and works to safeguard the crucial services that support local people. 


Matt Kersey, chairman of the Helping Hand Committee at Leyland Trucks, added: “For James to just take part in the event was fantastic – it was a tough day for any cyclist – but for him to have raised such a huge amount of money is truly inspiring.  Our entire workforce and much of Lancashire feels a close affinity to St Catherine’s. We’re proud to have a workforce that rallies together and supports one another, even tempting friends and family to hop on their bikes.  That’s why we wanted to personally thank James and his classmates for supporting the event, and for taking the opportunity to help people in need in our community. He has inspired so many people in a school full of generous, big-hearted children, teachers and parents.”


Deputy Headteacher Clayton-le-Woods Primary School, Mr Howard said, “All of us at school are extremely proud of James' fantastic achievement.  


“To raise such a huge amount of money for a very worthy cause is incredible and it was an amazing experience for James and all his classmates to visit Leyland trucks and learn more about the impressive work that they do there.”


To donate, visit the Factory to Festival JustGiving page at: 


The 2019 Factory to Festival challenge was sponsored by Leyland Packaging, Goodyear, Lancashire DAF, Atlas Copco, Essential Industrial Services, South Ribble Borough Council, Preston’s College, Actemium and Maxion Wheels.