Gemma Atkinson raises thousands for charity where bills have risen to £30K a year

Gemma Atkinson ran the Great Manchester Run <i>(Image: Instagram @zusun__)</i>
Gemma Atkinson ran the Great Manchester Run (Image: Instagram @zusun__)

Gemma Atkinson has raised thousands of pounds for an East Lancashire animal charity, where vet bills have soared.

Gemma, the president of Edenfield-based Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary, ran the Great Manchester Run at the weekend.

After launching a GoFundMe, Gemma managed to raise more than £11,000. All funds raised will go towards helping animals in the sanctuary’s care.

Bury-born Gemma, who is married to Strictly Come Dancing star Gorka Márquez, said she is grateful to anyone who has made a donation.

The former Hollyoaks actress said: “From all our residents past and present at our sanctuary I just wanted to say massive heartfelt thank you.

“Your generosity will help in so many ways. You’ve done it! You’ve made a massive difference to lots of animals' lives, some of which had no hope before coming to Bleakholt.

“Seeing that total amount has made the aching legs and 4.30am treadmill runs 100 per cent worth it. Genuinely, we’re all so very grateful."

The 39-year-old said she did not find the six-mile running challenge very easy.

“I take my hat off to anyone who chooses to run,” she said. “I personally hate it and so does my body. Needless to say, I’m happy my normal strength training can now resume, dare I say…. until next year.

“Thank you all for your donations. You will have genuinely helped so many animals at our sanctuary.”

Posting to her Instagram account, Gemma shared an image of a dog called Mia who needed an operation that cost thousands.

Bury-born Gemma said: “I’ve been told today by a lady from Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary that some of it will help dogs like Mia.

“She was brought into our sanctuary with a mammary gland tumour and needed an urgent operation which costs thousands.

“Mia’s operation wouldn’t have been possible to help her without the staff and volunteers and donations we get.

“Every penny helps and you’ve made a difference. Thanks for helping us help them.”

A spokesperson for Bleakholt said the funds will go a long way in supporting animals at the sanctuary, where bills have risen up to £30,000.

Bleakholt sanctuary manager Karen Weed said: "It's amazing that Gemma has raised £11,000 for Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary.

"Our monthly vets bills have risen to £20,000-£30,000 so this will help us such a lot."

Gemma and her partner Gorka are the stars of television show Gemma and Gorka: Life Behind the Lens. The second series aried this year.

The series gives viewers a glimpse into the couple’s family life as they welcome a second child to the family.

Gemma recently attended the opening of a Rawtenstall charity shop which opened in May.

The Bleakholt charity shops accept donations of furniture, electrical items, clothes, homeware, and beyond. They are said to be home to “a lot of bargains” and all proceeds go towards taking care of animals at the sanctuary.