Saturday, 21 December 2013

Liverpool Santa Dash 2013 - in words and images

So that's it for another year - the 10th Liverpool Santa Dash has been and gone.

Image of Pete and friend Cheryl before Liverpool Santa Dash 2013As usual it was the usual mix of athletes, fun-runners, walkers and people just out to raise money for their favourite cause. And what a mixture it was - adults, children, people pulling sleighs, dogs dressed as reindeers, men dressed as fairies, people calling at pubs for mid-race refreshments - you name it, Liverpool Santa Dash has it all, and here are some images to prove it.

Image of start of the Liverpool Santa Dash 2013The jury is still out on whether the 2013 Liverpool Santa Dash has reclaimed its crown as the biggest Santa Dash in the world, but one thing is certain - a lot of money was raised for good causes, and a lot of people will be back next year for more.
Image of Churchill Way during the Liverpool Santa Dash 2013
The amount raised for safe motherhood and maternal health projects in Rwanda currently stands at £170 plus Gift Aid, with some more still to come. Online donations are still welcome at and every penny raised, plus Gift Aid, will go towards the safe motherhood projects in Rwanda, supported by Shyira Trust.

Image of refreshments during the Liverpool Santa Dash 2013
Image of Pete after Liverpool Santa Dash 2013A big thank you to everyone who has donated already, and if you can spare a few pounds, please help us to save lives and make a real difference to the lives of women and children in Rwanda.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Number for Liverpool Santa Dash 2013

Well it's not number 1 or 2 which I've had in previous years. It's not even number 13, which I've had twice!

Number 5721 for Liverpool Santa Dash 2013

This year's number is 5721!

Nothing special then, except that it shows just how popular the Liverpool Santa Dash really is! And there are still a few days to get those numbers up to last year's figure of over 8000. If past years are anything to go by, there will be a couple of thousand entering in the last week, so the record is within reach.

Most will be running for charity, and some will be running for Rwanda.
If you would like to help us to support midwifery training, maternal health, and safe motherhood projects in Rwanda, please sponsor us at

Thank you for your continued support. Without people like you, we would not have been able to achieve the things we have done over the last 12 years.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Liverpool Santa Dash 2013 - still time to enter

If you are thinking of entering Liverpool Santa Dash 2013, there is still time to enter in person, but online entries closed at mid-day on November 20th. You can enter in person at btrLiverpool's office at Hatton Garden. In the run-up to the 2013 Liverpool Santa Dash, btrLiverpool's office is open Monday to Friday, from 9.30am to 5.30pm, and on Saturday30th November, from 9.30am to 4.00pm

Get your skates on - then get your Santa Suit on !

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Liverpool Santa Dash 2013

It's back! Liverpool Santa Dash - the biggest Santa Dash in Britain, and maybe the World !

From humble beginnings in 2004, the Liverpool Santa Dash has grown year on year to become the phenomenon that brings over 8000 Santas to the centre of Liverpool.

Jane & Pete supporting maternal health in Rwanda at Liverpool Santa DashAnd for 2013, the biggest and best has got even bigger and better - the Liverpool Santa Dash 2013 has once again teamed up with ITV's Text Santa appeal, and is aiming to bring over 10000 Santas to the centre of Liverpool raising funds for charity.

Once again, I will be running for Shyira Trust, raising funds for Maternal Health, Midwifery Training and Safe Motherhood projects in Rwanda. In previous years we have had a team, as many as 15, but this year there may be just me. However many we have running, we will have fun, while Running for Rwanda.

If you would like to help, you can, and you have two choices - you can join me, get sponsorship, and we can all run for Rwanda. Or, to help me raise much-needed funds for Maternal Health in Rwanda, you can sponsor me at and every penny raised by Shyira Trust, plus Gift Aid, will be used to support maternal health projects in Rwanda.

Whatever you decide, please support me as I maintain my ever-present status at Liverpool Santa Dash 2013 - one of only a handful of runners to have run all 10 stagings of the Liverpool Santa Dash

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Rwanda 2013 - The Luxury Tour

With a certain amount of irony, this year's trip to Shyira has been dubbed 'The Luxury Tour'.

Starting in the early hours of Sunday 11th August, the team met up at Amsterdam's Schipol airport, ready for our flight to Kigali.

Very much focussed on working in Shyira Maternity Hospital, the team consisted of Jane, a University Head of Midwifery, Chantelle, a Consultant Midwife, Keran, a hospital midwife, Jane, a neo-natal nurse, and Grace, a student midwife. And me.

Arriving at Kigali in the evening, we were met by Robinah who had arranged some transport for us, and travelled with us into the city centre.

We spent most of Monday with Robinah, changing money in Kigali, visiting the Genocide Museum, and generally acclimatising. We then met up again later for a meal at the Hotel Mille Collines (the hotel in the film 'Hotel Rwanda').

On Tuesday, we were met by Pastor Anthony and Augustin, who transported us to Shyira via Musanze. It was on this journey that 'The Luxury Tour' was coined. The road from Kigali to Musanze used to be littered with pot-holes, but is now well-surfaced for the whole length, apart from a couple of sections damaged by floods in 2012. The road along the valley from Musanze is now level and wide. It used to be dubbed 'an African massage' because of the uneven rocky surface, but is now much flatter. Even the road up the hill to Shyira has been improved. Still un-tarmacced, but wider and smoother than it used to be.

And so we arrived at Shyira. And more luxury is on its way - work is in hand installing an electricity supply. Poles are being erected throughout the village, and cables are being installed. The village will be linked to a hydro-electic supply within a couple of months. The water supply is being upgraded, and new mains are being laid in the village. Everywhere you look, there are signs of activity.

Finally, to the guesthouse, our home for the next ten nights, and the air of luxury continues. We are staying in the house build for the German family, with its high ceilings and bright airy rooms.

Then the luxury bubble bursts - because of the work in the village, there is no water in the house! We have brought bottled water with us to drink, but need to rely on buckets and bowls filled up at the village tap for all our washing and showering. And for flushing the toilet!

Oh well, at least we have arrived safely. And our conditions are better than nearly everyone else in the village

Monday, 8 July 2013

Chantelle cycles 100 miles for Maternal Health in Rwanda

Not content with climbing Kilimanjaro in aid of Shyira Trust, now Chantelle Winstanley has taken on another challenge to support Maternal Health in Rwanda.

On 4th August, she will be jumping on her trusty two wheels and taking to the streets of London and Surrey for her first road cycling sportif - the London-Surrey 100 - ridden over the course of the Olympic road race. As a novice cyclist, she sees the prospect of this huge event as both exciting and daunting!

And if 100 miles of pedal power isn’t exciting enough, the week after the race she’ll be heading out to Rwanda to learn, share and work as a midwife with the people of Shyira. She says "I feel extremely privileged to be visiting the community to see first-hand how this small charity has transformed the lives of the people in this part of Rwanda".

Like all visitors travelling to Rwanda on behalf of Shyira Trust, her trip is self-funded on a voluntary basis. Every penny raised by Shyira Trust goes to the intended project, with no deductions - no rents, no rates, no salaries - just 100% commitment to the most vulnerable in Rwanda. All funds raised will be used for projects supporting maternal health and midwifery in Rwanda - for instance, paying for safe deliveries, or paying for the training of a midwife.

Your donation can help to save lives, and continue to improve the state of maternal health in Rwanda, so please be generous. A little goes a long way in Rwanda: it cost about £2 for a normal delivery and £20 for a Caesarean section.

To make a donation, please follow this link:

Thank you for your support

Monday, 17 June 2013

Jane Morgan MBE

Jane Morgan from Formby has been awarded an MBE for services to midwifery in the UK, and the provision of maternity services in Shyira, Rwanda.

Typically modest, she says “I was overwhelmed to hear that I am being given an MBE because I feel as though I’ve just being doing my job. I’m no good at shouting about my achievements, I don’t really like the attention, but it’s lovely to be recognised for what you do. This is a huge honour - it still hasn’t sunk in yet.”

A trustee of the Shyira Trust, a small Formby-based charity, she continues “My life changed when I went to Rwanda in 2001, and I went to visit the maternity hospital in Shyira. I was completely unprepared for what I saw. There were five nurses, only one of whom was trained, and no midwives. There was no running water or electricity and it was filthy. The delivery room had a big hole in the window so everyone congregated outside and looked in during deliveries. And on the ward, mothers who had just given birth were mixed with women who had miscarried or had malaria or TB. I was absolutely paralysed with shock.

n MBE with Fidele and Robinah. Improving Maternal Health in Rwanda
Jane, with Fidele and Robinah,
outside the rebuilt Shyira maternity hospital
“When I got home from Rwanda I was like a woman possessed. Through the church and local community we raised £24,000 to build a new hospital and it has made such a difference to the people of Shyira. At the time we didn’t realise just how successful it was going to be.

"Myself and a team of midwives are flying out to Rwanda in August to look at extending the hospital. It has becoming so popular with 1,000 babies being delivered a year, and because so many mums are coming for care, they are running out of room so we want to do something to change this.”

Even when rebuilt, the maternity hospital had no trained midwives, so as part of an on-going education project, Jane has established two scholarships that have helped local nurses to train as midwives. Those 2 midwives, Fidele and Robinah, have drastically reduced maternal and infant mortality and morbidity in Shyira. She also often visits during her holidays to pass on her own skills to the staff.

Congratulations to Jane for this well-deserved honour, and good luck to her for her continuing efforts to fund Midwifery Training, Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood projects in Rwanda