STAFF stepped out to cover the distance from Handforth to Athens to help raise vital funds for East Cheshire Hospice.

The team from Handforth-based Equilibrium Financial walked 7.2 million steps as part of the hospice’s annual Corporate Challenge.

The company's initial target of four million steps, the equivalent distance from their office to Athens, was easily beaten by 54 fundraisers and their sponsors.

Another 11 members of staff climbed enough flights of stairs to have taken them to the summit of Mount Everest.

They worked out that covering 8,848 metres amounted to seven and a half flights of stairs each day.

Meanwhile, the marketing team collectively walked, cycled and ran the distance from Land's End to John O'Groats, 970 kilometres.

In addition, an office raffle raised an impressive £965, prizes including a £100 John Lewis voucher, a Marks and Spencer hamper and a restaurant voucher.

Overall the company raised £2,310, a donation which was doubled once its charitable arm The Equilibrium Foundation had match-funded the total.

Their efforts were all worthwhile as Equilibrium won the Corporate Challenge, which raised £12,226 for the hospice, whose fundraising has been hard hit by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Equilibrium managing partner Gaynor Rigby said: "The work East Cheshire Hospice does is phenomenal, and the team needed absolutely no convincing to dig deep and help out.

"We know that our efforts and donations to them will make a difference to a lot of lives and we couldn’t be prouder to support them.”

Kate Bowmar, corporate relationship manager at the hospice, said: "We'd like to thank the businesses for taking part and entering into the spirit of a fun competition.

“They raised an amazing total, especially during such a difficult year for everyone."

Macclesfield builders merchants MaccPlas came second, with recruitment firm Leap 29 third.

Bioscript, the 7i Group and the Ivy Leaf pub also took part.

Each group received a £100 start-up loan and all profit from that investment was donated to the hospice.