To celebrate his recent 60th birthday, Stefan has signed up to the London Marathon with the aim of funding a wheelchair through Variety, the Children’s Charity. The decision came after attending the popular Legends of Industry Awards as guests of former Legend John Kennedy MBE and Northwest appeals Chair Susan Craig. When Lyn Staunton, Development Director of the North West at Variety, began the auction, philanthropist Michael Josephson MBE stood up and pledged eight wheelchairs to the charity.

Stefan was inspired to make a difference himself and to run the London Marathon to raise money for wheelchairs through Variety, the Children’s Charity.

Stefan said, “It’s just amazing how much Michael has done. It’s unbelievable what one man can do. The best people are the people who are doing it from the heart and the soul, you need to have that strength and drive.

“He got up and said ‘I’ll give eight wheelchairs away’, and I thought you know what? I’m going to buy a wheelchair. And that was the cementing moment. I thought to myself, right why am I not fundraising for these wheelchairs? Why not get one? Or two, or why not get three?”

Since being inspired by the charity gala, Stefan has been educating as many people as he can, not only about Variety, the Children’s Charity, but also about the need for suitable wheelchairs. He said, “You can see people thinking, well why would we fund that when surely you can get them for free through the NHS? But people don’t realise that they don’t fund every type of wheelchair, like sports, or powered chairs, or lightweight chairs. And asking a child to use the wrong type of chair is like asking someone to run a marathon in flip flops – it just doesn’t work.

“And a lot of these teenagers don’t want to go out in a cumbersome wheelchair. They want something lightweight to be able to go out and have access to everything. It’s hard until the moment that somebody says something and the penny drops. I think there’s just a whole lack of education.”

As Stefan has been training for his last marathon, he has been asking customers to donate to his fundraiser instead of paying his business for small jobs. With support from his friends and family, he is determined to sponsor a wheelchair from the funds he raises.

Stefan is the owner of Stefan’s Jewellers and runs the business alongside his wife, Sandra, who joined the family business full time after a career as a nurse and midwife.