The family, friends and former colleagues of a much-loved former doctor have smashed their fundraising target, raising thousands of pounds for Ashgate Hospicecare in his memory.
In tribute to Dr OP Chawla, who treated patients at Wingerworth Surgery in Chesterfield, 71 of his friends, family and patients challenged themselves to run or walk a collective total of 4,444 miles in March – the distance from where he trained from Lucknow, India to the surgery he worked in in North Derbyshire.
Initially hoping to raise £4,444, the group members are now celebrating having surpassed that target to raise £4,514 and accumulated 4,916 miles, with a week left to go.
Dr Tara George, a friend of Dr Chawla who worked with him at the Wingerworth surgery, is stepping up to the task and was the brainchild behind the event.
“Dr Chawla was a close friend to us all,” said Tara, who has helped provide Ashgate’s care herself as part of her GP training. “He was a driving force behind the building of the new surgery in Wingerworth, dad to my colleague Sudeep and husband to our senior partner Dr V Chawla.
“He had an infectious smile and a wicked sense of humour as well as being passionate about high quality care for patients. He was a father figure around the surgery with his quiet wisdom and pragmatic realism.”
Sadly, Dr OP Chawla died on 2nd January, after testing positive for COVID-19.
Tara continues: “Ashgate is a phenomenal community resource who look after the palliative care needs of patients in North Derbyshire. Dr Chawla was always a huge supporter of the charity and a great believer in the services provided. We are mindful that the majority of their income is from charitable donations and this has taken a huge knock during the COVID pandemic. We want to know the hospice will be there for us and our patients in the future.”
Dr Chawla’s son, Sudeep, added: “We’d like to say a massive thank you to all who have signed up to participate and donated to our fundraising page. Ashgate Hospicecare provides essential services to the North Derbyshire community and we are very proud to be supporting the charity. What better way to do this than by getting the community up and on their feet?!”
Carl Jones, Fundraising Manager at Ashgate Hospicecare, said: “I’m delighted that Dr Chawla’s family, colleagues and former patients have chosen to support Ashgate Hospicecare by taking part in this mammoth challenge in memory of him.
“We massively rely on the hard work and support of our supporters organising their own fundraisers, so we can be there for the families who need us. What Sudeep, Tara and the other 70 fundraisers have achieved is nothing short of inspirational.
“A huge thank you from us all at Ashgate.”
To find out more about the fundraiser or to donate go to https://ashgatehospicecare.enthuse.com/cf/4-444-miles-for-dr-chawla