An Eversheds Sutherland lawyer has received an award from the Prime Minister for his outstanding charity work.
Paul Verrico set up Team Verrico after his wife, Anna, died from breast cancer in 2013 at the age of 36. Their children were just one and three years old at the time.
A whopping sum of over £500,000 has been raised so far. The funds have been used primarily to help families affected by cancer, particularly where children have a parent diagnosed with the disease.
On World Cancer Day, 4 February, the Prime Minister wrote a letter to Paul applauding him for his work*. Theresa May said that the extraordinary amount raised by Paul “is a remarkable tribute” to Anna, and that his charity was having an “incredibly positive impact” on families across the UK. The PM gave Paul a "Points of Light" award** which recognises volunteers who make a change to their community and inspire others.
Paul told RollOnFriday that the success of the charity had been down to hard work and "people getting together behind a cause that they believe in". He said that many families who had been helped by the charity wanted to "in some way pay it forward" and fundraise to assist "the next person in the chain".
The charity has connected with the local community. Shortly before her death, Anna participated in an organised run in Epworth with her children, where "virtually the whole town" wore the charity's pink colour in support. The annual race has now been renamed "The Anna Verrico half marathon". Also, just three days before she died, Anna, along with her daughter, led Scunthorpe United out onto the pitch before a match. The football club has continued to support the charity and players have worn Team Verrico wrist bands.
Team Verrico has also benefited from corporate partnerships, including with Eversheds Sutherland. Paul told RollOnFriday that the firm has been an "incredible support through the darkest of times" and that colleagues have been "amazing".
Paul Cotton, Eversheds Sutherlands' senior partner said that Paul was an inspiration, and that his "bravery and incredible tenacity to bring positivity to such tragic and personal circumstances illustrates his strength of character". A running team from the firm is participating in the Berlin marathon in September to support the charity.
* A fantastic achievement by Paul, even if some people would try to raise such a huge sum in order to avoid a letter from the Prime Minister.
** It is not known whether the government will also be commissioning an award called “Point of May?”