Call for risk assessment after five deaths in a week

The Institute of Fundraising has urged organisations to make sure they conduct thorough risk assessments at charity fundraising events following the deaths of five people at such events in the past week.

Four runners died in the Great North Run on Sunday, four days after police officer Tony Mead, 37, collapsed while taking part in a north Devon charity bike ride.

Two of the deceased were raising money for Cancer Research UK, which this week revealed it planned to increase revenue from fun runs. It did not wish to comment on the fatalities.

Institute chief executive Lindsay Boswell urged charities to consult the institute's code of practice, Outdoor Fundraising and Charity Challenge Events.

"Risk assessment is an absolutely essential component of any fundraising strategy," he said. "At fundraising events, the safety of participants, your staff and the local community is of paramount importance and must be thoroughly explored."

"That said, nobody lives their life wrapped up in cotton wool, and accidents can and do happen."

Pete Coppola, sponsorship executive at CancerBACUP, was one of 60 runners raising money for the charity at the Great North Run, from Newcastle upon Tyne to South Shields.

He said he didn't think that these accidents would affect future events but said it showed how important it was for charities to make sure that participants were aware of the risks.

- See News, page 4.

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