Jo, a Health and Safety lead for our education business has been with Compass for 29 years. Jo started as a Chef Manager and worked in various roles in operations and has been in H&S since 2015. She is responsible for leading H&S across all schools, colleges and universities in the Chartwells business.
Jo has been awarded the Purple Rose Award from Cancer Research UK for her role as fundraising chair of Relay for Life York. The Purple Rose Award was created in memory of Rose Dalton, who founded Relay for Life Ascot in 2008 and through her leadership helped them raise over £1 million for Cancer Research UK. She sadly died in 2018.
In receiving the award Jo has been recognised for fully embodying the Relay standards and for her passion, which goes “above and beyond” to make a huge impact within the Relay community.
Tell us how you got involved with raising funds for Cancer Research UK.
I began fundraising for Cancer Research UK in 2002 after my best friend Larna died of breast cancer aged just 34. Jo and Larna grew up together in Hambleton and despite life taking them to different places across the country they reunited in Yorkshire in the last years of her life and made more wonderful memories together. I don’t ever want my daughter to have to face what Larna went through and I hope my fundraising will inspire others just like Rose inspired me.
How do you support the charity?
Raising awareness is just as important as raising funds and I often attend local community events to promote the great work that Cancer Research UK does. We have regular bucket collections at the local supermarkets and the races. Each year I lead the volunteers at the CRUK cheering point at the finish line of the London Marathon, a truly emotional experience! We also promote the national campaigns, World Cancer Day and Stand Up To Cancer.
“From early collections on a cold windy morning at York train station, to delivering a homemade afternoon tea for cancer survivors, she really eats, sleeps and breathes Relay for Life."
I have been the event chair for Relay for Life York since 2018 and have helped the community fundraising event raise over £362,000 for Cancer Research UK, including £70,321 in 2023. In my role as corporate charity champion, we at Compass have raised over £2.66 million for vital research.
How do you feel to receive this award?
I’m so honoured to have received this award. I was so fortunate to get to know Rose before she died and I have learnt so much from her. It really means so much getting an award in her name. “Everything I do for Cancer Research UK is done in memory of Larna. She was so young when she was diagnosed, but despite it only being 22 years ago, if she got the same diagnosis today it’s likely she would have survived due to the advances in research. I want to support research and find new breakthroughs to help people survive.
Jo is backing the Cancer Research UK’s ‘Together We Are Beating Cancer’ campaign to help ensure life-saving progress like this continues and is urging people to get involved. The awareness and fundraising drive highlight the heart-warming moments - from big birthdays and anniversary celebrations to quality time with loved ones – being made possible for people affected by cancer, right now.