UKTV raises £80,000 for GIST Support UK

UKTV with GIST Support UK's Jayne Bressington & Nic Puntis

UKTV with GIST Support UK's Jayne Bressington & Nic Puntis

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Award-winning media company, UKTV, today presented a cheque for £80,000 to its 2015 Charity of the Year, GIST Support UK. Staff raised the amount by completing a gruelling set of sporting challenges that tested fitness, stamina and nerve.

Nearly half of UKTV's workforce competed in 'Against the Elements', which tested their metal against Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. The challenges included cycling over 300 miles from London to Versailles, jumping off the Orbit at the home of the London 2012 Olympics, walking across boiling hot coals, and taking part in a 7.5km dragon boat sprint race on The Thames.

In addition, staff at the broadcaster hosted bake sales, pub quizzes and auctions, with every penny raised going to GIST Support UK.

GIST (GastroIntestinal Stromal Tumour) is a rare form of cancer that affects both adults and children, and around 900 new patients are diagnosed every year in the UK. GIST Support UK is a small charity, run by volunteer trustees, which provides support to patients and their families and encourages research into GIST cancer. More information can be found at

The money raised by UKTV will be used to stimulate and support GIST research projects and infrastructure e.g. The National GIST Tissue Bank and Seed Funding for GIST research projects, along with providing support to GIST patients and their families.

UKTV's Commissioning and Creative teams are also helping GIST Support UK to raise awareness and improve understanding of this rare cancer by making an accredited short film, funded through UKTV's Innovation Pot initiative. The film will form part of GPs continuing professional development training, explaining more about what GIST is and how to diagnose it. The film will feature Professor Ian Judson, a leading GIST authority, who is based at the Royal Marsden Hospital and GIST patients.

UKTV's Controller, Emma Tennant, who is living with GIST and will feature in the short film, said,

UKTV's tenacious fundraisers have once again done themselves proud and raised a phenomenal amount of money for GIST Support UK. I was bowled over by the true grit, determination and encouragement staff demonstrated when tackling 'Against the Elements' and it is a testament to the unique culture we enjoy here at UKTV that so many people took part. This amount of money will make a significant difference to GIST Support UK and to the lives of those suffering with GIST and their families.

GIST Support UK's Vice Chair, Jayne Bressington, added,

It has been our good fortune and an absolute pleasure to be working with UKTV during 2015 as their nominated charity partner. The energy, dedication, support and selflessness displayed by everyone involved has been phenomenal. We are indebted to all at UKTV, thank you for choosing to help us. Your support is our springboard to secure fledgling GIST specific research projects such as the National GIST Tissue Bank and will help us to stimulate more vital GIST research infrastructure and research projects. On behalf of all GIST patients and GIST Support UK, a huge THANK YOU!

UKTV's Charity of the Year campaign forms part of the company's CSR strategy which gives staff the opportunity to nominate charities close to their heart which are then put to a company-wide vote. UKTV's Charity of the Year for 2016 will be announced shortly.