A published author from Hartlepool has helped raise hundreds of pounds by leading a 12-hour writing marathon of more than 50,000 words.
Sharon Birch, a former detective sergeant, has warmed up for an appearance as a spotlight author in Stirling, Scotland, on Friday by joining in the PFC Trust’s UChangeLives campaign #Getupandgive.
The creative writing challenge had 17 writers contributing on Monday after people were invited to either send prompts, donate money or write themselves during the period of the challenge.
The 57-year-old said: “This was for anyone who wanted to write, whether they are established well-known writers, business writers or a first time writer – we wanted anyone to get involved.
“I did the sponsored slim the first time around for UChangeLives a couple of years ago and I lost weight - and put it back on! I couldn’t do the Great North Run, the CEO Sleep-Out and things like that because my own health isn’t great.
“But I love writing. I am in the middle of writing my next book, so it has been great to get some words down as part of a challenge.
“There were 17 of us during the day all joining in, with others doing bits here and there. I did 12 hours. My neck and hands hurt but it was worth it. We did a word count at the end of the day too and we had written a combined 50,689 words!”
The UChangeLives push encourages individuals to raise funds to support the PFC Trust’s work across the community throughout September.
Alternatively, you can raise funds to split 50/50 with a group of your choice and Sharon has decided to help Hartlepool Carers in this manner.
She said: “I have a six-year-old grandson who cares for his mum who has severe epilepsy. He also has his own health needs, so that’s why I am helping the Carers and the PFC Trust.
“#Getupandgive is marvellous for the community and every bit helps. I’m in a fortunate position where I can give but we all do our bit don’t we.”
Sharon, a safeguarding consultant, is appearing at the Bloody Scotland Crime Festival alongside Val McDermid and another esteemed crime writer, Abir Mukherjee, on Friday, September 15.
She will be reading an extract from her She’s Not There novel and signing copies.
Even though Sharon’s 12-hour writing marathon is over, the PFC Trust’s UChangeLives campaign runs throughout September.
*If you want to support the campaign without taking part in an activity, you can still be involved by texting ‘UCHANGELIVES’ to 70580 to make a one-off donation of £5.00. Every donation goes a long way to support the PFC Trust.
*To sign up to join the UChangeLives #getupandgive in September go to