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In Full . . .

25 years of fun run fundraising

Posted on March 16 2013 at 12:41:27

Nicole and Mark Williams

A Bromsgrove charity which has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for blood cancer research is gearing up for its 25th annual fun run.

The Bromsgrove branch of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research will host the popular event at Bromsgrove Rugby Club in Finstall on May 12, and hopes to attract runners of all ages.

Run by a very small committee of volunteers, the branch has raised an incredible £800,000 since it was founded in 1988.

Nicole Harris, whose young son Marc had just been diagnosed with leukaemia, was one of those who responded to an initial appeal for help with fundraising, which led to the Bromsgrove branch being formed.

Sadly Marc died the following year aged just nine years old, and Nicole was determined to raise as much money as possible so that other families might not have to lose loved ones to leukaemia and lymphoma.

She became branch chairman in 1989 and the first fun run took place later that year at Barnsley Hall, with about 100 runners taking part – including Slade guitarist Dave Hill!

The event has expanded hugely over the years, now attracting around 400 participants each year from all over the UK and even beyond.

“Many people who took part 25 years ago are still running or helping the charity in other ways, which is really heartwarming,” says Nicole.

All sorts of people have lent their support, including Bromsgrove-born actor and comedian Mark Williams (best known for The Fast Show and the Harry Potter films).

Fun runners can choose between a 5k or a 10k course – the 5k route is an easier route along the canal towpath, ideal for children (under 16s must be accompanied by an adult), while the 10k is a bit more challenging!

You can register on the day before 10.30am, but Nicole asks that people register in advance if possible. Entry forms can be downloaded from http://www.lrfbromsgrove.org.uk

The event features fun for all the family, with a bar, BBQ, stalls and even relaxing massages available.

There’s also the annual Forget Me Not walk on June 9, in which participants can choose to walk a one-mile, five-mile, eight-mile or 12-mile route in memory of a loved one.

Again, the one-mile course around Sanders Park is perfect for children, while the longer routes take in several town pubs.

The charity organises many other fundraising activities throughout the year, from quiz nights and fashion shows to collections and stalls.

All money raised goes directly to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, with some of the research carried out in Birmingham.

It is the only UK charity dedicated to improving the lives of patients with all types of blood cancer, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Research is focused on finding causes, improving diagnosis and treatments, and running groundbreaking clinical trials for all blood cancer patients.

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