Westerleigh Group chooses SHA as 2022 charity partner

Westerleigh Group has named Scottish Huntington’s Association as its corporate charity partner in Scotland for 2022, kick-starting its support with a £10,000 donation.

As the UK’s largest owner and operator of crematoria and cemeteries, Westerleigh Group  has 36 sites in England, Scotland, and Wales, all set within landscaped gardens of remembrance which provide peaceful places for people to visit and reflect. In England and Wales, the Group has chosen to support the Huntington’s Disease Association.

The new partnerships follow a decision earlier this year by Westerleigh Group Chief Executive Officer Roger Mclaughlan to step down after learning he had inherited the faulty gene that leads to Huntington’s disease.

His successor, Debbie Smith, said: “Choosing Scottish Huntington’s Association and Huntington’s Disease Association as our corporate charity partners for the whole year seemed to be a fitting way for Westerleigh Group to honour, thank and pay tribute to Roger for his leadership.

“We wanted to make an initial donation to mark the start of our year of partnership with the two charities. But this is just the beginning. Over the coming months, our colleagues at Borders, Stirlingshire and West Lothian Crematoria will be looking at other ways of supporting and raising money for Scottish Huntington’s Association.”

Funds donated by the Group to charities are usually raised through the Group’s metal recycling scheme. With the consent of families, metals recovered during cremation are recycled and any funds raised are donated to charity. In 2021, Westerleigh Group raised almost £500,000 through its metal recycling scheme alone for the benefit of charities and community projects across England, Wales and Scotland.

Each crematorium chooses local organisations, charities or causes to benefit from money raised, which means each Westerleigh site gets to make a positive impact and provide valuable support directly to the communities they serve. In addition, a small share of the money each crematorium raises is sent to Group headquarters to enable corporate donations to be made. Staff also undertake additional fundraising activities and events to provide further support.

“We know that those donations were greatly appreciated by the charities and organisations who received them, and who work so hard to provide valuable services to the benefit of communities surrounding our crematoria,” said Debbie.

“For 2022, we want to take that further with our corporate charity partners, and I can’t wait to see what Westerleigh’s staff, partners and our crematoria communities get up to this year to raise money for the Huntington’s disease charities. For me, it was a huge honour to present significant donations during my first few weeks at Westerleigh and we look forward to making many more contributions to these very worthy charities during the course of the year.”

Scottish Huntington’s Association Chief Executive Alistair Haw said: “Huntington’s disease is a hugely complex and extremely difficult to manage condition. Specialist services are an absolute necessity for families whose lives are impacted by this disease and we are committed to ensuring that the right support is available when and where it’s needed.

“Given the rise in cases over recent years, our HD Specialists, Youth Advisors and Financial Wellbeing Officers are providing vital support to more families than ever, despite the funding challenges we face.

“For that reason, we are profoundly grateful to Westerleigh Group and its staff for choosing to support Huntington’s disease families who are often overlooked because they are impacted by a rare disease that even today is widely misunderstood by the general public.”

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