Richard Aylett, who runs successful party wholesaler Balloon World, is encouraging his team to ‘pay it forward’ by introducing a programme which will see all staff receive a paid day off each month to do charity work of their choice.
The altruistic decision comes following a life-changing few years for Richard, which saw him diagnosed with severe liver failure and in urgent need of a transplant. With no available donor, Richard was on the verge of leaving hospital to go home and receive palliative care, when the call came that a donor match had been found.
The transplant was a success and since returning back to health, Richard – who also runs retail outlets The Card House and Balloon Room along with his wife Cath – has been raising the profile of organ donation wherever possible.
Following his experience, Richard – who bought Balloon World in 2016 – was struck by the many simple ways the quality of other people’s lives could be made better and began volunteering locally.
“I soon realised how much of a difference we could make if everyone at Balloon World spent one day a month doing something for someone else,” he said. “The team loved the idea of an official corporate volunteer scheme and are all excited to be taking time out to put something back into society.”
“I think it’s important to stay humble and appreciate what you have,” Richard continues, “and as an employer I think it’s a good thing to be able to support this by giving them paid leave. I’m sure the feel-good factor will resonate through everything they do and I’m proud that all my colleagues want to participate – including myself!”
Richard is currently partway through a personal challenge of running 100 marathons this year, with the Nashville marathon the next on his list. His running bib reads ‘Donors Rock’, as part of his aim to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.
Picture: Richard running and presenting a portrait to Mark Fox, his consultant at Whiston Hospital who not only helped him get back on his feet but also encouraged him to take up running.