725 days ago
A team of Sodexo chefs fed 400 volunteers during a two-day fundraiser which raised £110,000 for East Cheshire Hospice in Macclesfield.
The annual Christmas tree collection is a major source of funds for the hospice and the task of feeding its army of volunteers has proved to be a major undertaking in recent years. So, when Sodexo and client AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals were asked if they could help by providing vegetables for the two-day collection, Sodexo executive development chef Mark Cheetham decided to go one step further and volunteer to cook and deliver the food.
Mark was joined by his wife, and customer service manager at AstraZeneca in Liverpool, Jackie Cheetham; plus fellow Sodexo chefs Adam Collison and Mark Cunniffe, who both work for the AstraZeneca contract in Alderley Park.
“It was great to be a part of it and I just want to do it again and again,” said Mark. “It was thoroughly enjoyable and very rewarding.”
In previous years, volunteer cooks have each prepared 12 portions of a hotpot at home and then brought them to The Mulchers' Arms – the aptly named weekend HQ for the collection. But with a 400-strong army of volunteers to feed, it had become an increasing burden.
“We took a lot of work away from the ladies and freed them up to collect more trees which meant more donations. It also took away their worry about getting it all together. I've never made so many ladies smile in one day!”
In the seventeenth year of the Christmas tree collection, a total of 7,000 trees were picked up from 2,200 roads covering an area of 275-square metres.
Sodexo and AstraZeneca also support the Seashell Trust in Cheshire which helps fund a residential school and college for children with severe learning difficulties. For the last two years Mark has offered his award-winning cooking skills as a raffle prize and invited children from the school to visit his catering units.
Mark has been Sodexo's executive development chef for AstraZeneca since 2008, driving food standards across eight sites. Sodexo provides a wide range of dining services, including: fine dining, conference catering, espresso bars, pop-up events, restaurant dining and even Teppanyaki – Japanese-style live cooking.
Mark is pictured, right, with co-organiser Richard Raymond.
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