Clitheroe pizza chef hands over week’s wage to charity

Iram, Shaheen and Lois. (s)
Iram, Shaheen and Lois. (s)

A mum-of-two who is set to skydive for charity was shocked when a pizza shop worker donated a week’s wages to sponsor her.

Pizza chef Shaheen Chaudhry, who works at Pizza Tops in Clitheroe, handed over all his wages of £240 to Iram Esa (28) towards her sponsored hospice skydive in memory of her sister Alia who died in 2010.

I’ve had friends who’ve suffered through cancer and I know how devastating it was for Iram to lose her sister.

Shaheen Chaudhry

Iram, formerly of Clitheroe, but who now lives in Blackburn, aimed to raise £500 for East Lancashire Hospice and was halfway to her target when Shaheen, a family friend, got in touch through Facebook to make the total up to £500.

Iram said: “I’ve been posting on Facebook a lot and asking friends to share the details as I want to raise as much as possible. In less than a week I raised about £250 then I saw the message from Shaheen. I didn’t want to get too excited until I had the money, but the next day I went to the pizza shop and he had the money ready – I couldn’t thank him enough for his kind donation.

“My beloved sister Alia lost her battle with cancer at just 28 years old, leaving two beautiful boys behind. You only have to witness the staff at the hospice to appreciate what an awesome job they do.”

She added: “My niece Lois Gillen-Mehmood and I have been going round collecting the donations as she is also doing the skydive, and Shaheen even added another £10 to sponsor her too!”

Shaheen (39), a pizza chef at Pizza Tops, Whalley Road, Clitheroe, for nine years said it was an honour to support the ladies for a good cause.

“I’ve had friends who’ve suffered through cancer and I know how devastating it was for Iram to lose her sister. I have a lot of respect for the hospice and when I saw what Iram was doing I had to help. She was over the moon when she came to collect the donation and it made my day. I couldn’t resist an extra £10 for Lois when she came with Iram too. All my colleagues were clapping and cheering. I was gobsmacked at the positive reactions from everyone!”

Iram became aware of the skydive through Connect UK, a fundraising group who have pledged to raise £20,000 for the hospice this year. She added: “We’ve been so overwhelmed with the pledges and messages from all over the country, and the world! Most of the donations have come from people I know but some have been from strangers who have seen what we’re doing and want to help. I’m so happy with what I’ve raised already in a short space of time.”

Shaheen said he’s become unexpectedly well-known for his kind act: “I’ve been getting praise from everywhere. I’m so glad I did it. It was an honour to help Iram and the least I could do knowing what she has signed up for.”

In just over a week Iram has raised £700 and Lois £550. They will join a team of around a dozen fundraisers from the Connect UK group who will take the plunge on Sunday. To sponsor Iram visit: www.justgiving.com/Iram-Esa/