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Cheerleaders and Riverside Campus Nursing students, Sophie Gregory, Kelly Whiteside and Martha Stealey, are now working on the NHS front line at the Countess of Chester Hospital, so fellow Vixens decided to raise funds for crucial medical equipment and well-being ‘comforts’ for NHS staff and volunteers. Donors can visit the Vixens’ ‘Just Giving’ page at https://justgiving.com/fundraising/chester-vixens2020

With 55 athletes comprising three cheerleading teams, the Vixens’ Prep Squad cheer at all home games of the University’s basketball teams and also turn out for professional team, Cheshire Phoenix and American Football. They have been competing as a cheerleading team for more than eight years and, in that time, have become 2019 National Ultimate Champions, Level 2 Group Stunt National Champions, Varsity Champions and been recognised as Chester University’s Sport of the Year.

Charitable fund-raising is one of their most passionate commitments. They began the 2019-2020 season by raising over over £1,000 for Chester Aid to the Homeless in the annual ‘sleep-out’ and have raised funds for many charities such as the Centre for Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Development charity (just outside Chester), and the Epilepsy Society, before the coronavirus ‘lockdown’ took effect. They also collected for West Cheshire Foodbank at Christmas and donated 12 shoeboxes filled with toothbrushes, soap, toys and other goodies as part of Operation Christmas Child and adopt a charity each month including Cancer Research UK and Colitis UK. Sadly, this year’s season has been cut short, preventing the Varsity or National competitions taking place but they just had time to secure second place at the Future Cheer University Nationals in February and surpass last season’s charity fund-raising target.

Club Captain, Jordanne Farley-Moss, said they wanted to demonstrate their gratitude and support for NHS staff and volunteers during this uncertain time: “We are honoured that several of our athletes, who have spent the last three years studying Nursing, are rising to the challenge of caring for patients a lot sooner than they expected. They are working so hard and we are so proud of their resilience during this tough time. We hope people will be generous because the funds we raise are our way of saying a very big ‘thank you’ - for your hard work and your bravery”.

Despite the current ‘lockdown’, the Vixens continue to work hard at home by conditioning, practising drilling skills and stretching to maintain their strength and flexibility. Their captains set weekly challenges - including fun ‘tik tok’ videos of skills and dances, Zoom call workouts and stretching sessions to maintain team spirit and keep up morale.

They may be in ‘lockdown’ but their team spirit and commitment to fund-raising is stronger than ever.

Jordanne added: “We are very passionate about our charity work and can't wait to announce how much difference all our hard work has made to these organisations when we announce this year’s fundraising total at the official end of the season.”

*Chester Vixens, pictured at their Annual Charity Showcase (please note that this is an old photograph taken before any lockdown restrictions).

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