Category Archives: Running for charity

Friends of Dame Barbara Windsor to run London Marathon for Dementia Revolution

Close friends of iconic actor and national treasure Barbara Windsor have unveiled themselves as an all-star team known as ‘Barbara’s Revolutionaries’ that will run the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.

‘Barbara’s Revolutionaries’ on the running track

To the delight of the well-loved screen star, the team will be running for the Dementia Revolution, a year-long campaign created by dementia charities Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK for the event’s Charity of the Year.

In a video released by the team, the star-studded group of actors who worked with Dame Barbara on popular soap EastEnders, met for a preparatory training session with Barbara’s husband Scott Mitchell, the leader of the inspirational team.

The group donned Dementia Revolution running gear for a spirited stretching and sprints session with professional trainer and coach Martin Yelling, before sharing their motivations for taking on the incredible challenge in support of close friend Barbara, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014.

Those bravely pulling on their running shoes are Adam Woodyatt, Jake Wood, Emma Barton, Natalie Cassidy, Kellie Shirley, Tanya Franks, Jamie Borthwick and Jane Slaughter, who all forged firm friendships with Barbara during their time on the soap.

United in support of the star, the group have joined the Dementia Revolution campaign in a bid to raise much-needed awareness of dementia and to raise £100,000 to power ground-breaking research into the cruel disease.

Barbara Windsor herself previously expressed her support for the Dementia Revolution in October 2018, when husband Scott announced that he would be running the marathon on 28 April, coincidentally his 56th birthday, in a video that received thousands of views.

Dementia is the biggest health threat facing society with almost a million people living with the condition in the UK – it is now the country’s leading cause of death, ahead of heart disease. There are currently no effective treatments to slow, prevent or cure the diseases that cause dementia, but scientists are working tirelessly to beat the condition.

The Dementia Revolution sees Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK working together to overthrow old attitudes towards dementia and raise millions of pounds for the most ambitious dementia research initiative the UK has ever seen – the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI), powering ground-breaking research to find better treatments and a cure.

Speaking about the creation of Barbara’s Revolutionaries, Scott said: “From the bottom of my heart I really admire all of the team for taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon for the Dementia Revolution – it is such an amazing show of their love and friendship towards Barbara.

“It’s one thing to be friends with someone, but when people say that they’re going to give up their spare time and much needed days off and instead dedicate them to a cause that means so much, then that really is extraordinary – to both Barbara and me it’s so incredibly special.”

Dame Barbara Windsor added: “It means so much to me to see some of my closest friends coming together to support this cause. And I know it will mean a lot to everyone else living with dementia.”

Jeremy Hughes, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It is absolutely fantastic that so many close friends of Dame Barbara Windsor have come together to form Barbara’s Revolutionaries and are taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon for the Dementia Revolution. It’s a display of true friendship in support of a cause that is so vital.”

Click here to sponsor Barbara’s Revolutionaries.

Preston man running in memory of POW grandfather

James Housden from Preston is running a half marathon to raise awareness of the plight of Far East prisoners of war in World War Two. 

James  Housden who is fundraising for COFEPOWJames is taking part in the Great North Run in September to raise money for national charity, COFEPOW, which manages the Far East Prisoners of War Memorial Building at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire and works to preserve the memory of the Far East Prisoners of War.

The charity is fundraising to replace the computer equipment at the FEPOW Memorial Building. The Memorial Building has many computer generated displays to enhance the visitor experience, but most of the equipment is now 11 years old and desperately needs replacing.

James is the son of COFEPOW trustee Paul Housden and last year completed the Coast-to-Coast cycle ride with his Dad to raise money to help COFEPOW commemorate the 70th Anniversary of VJ Day, when Japan finally surrendered, brining an end to the Second World War.

More than 200,000 Allied civilians and service personnel were taken prisoner by the Japanese in February 1942. By VJ Day on 15 August 1945, some 50,000 of these people had died.

James said: “My Grandfather was one of the lucky ones who returned after being a prisoner of war. The story of all the captives is told at the National Memorial Arboretum and, by raising funds to help replace the outdated computer equipment at the Far East POW Memorial Building, I can help keep alive the memory of what my Granddad and his fellow captives went through. It is really important that future generations remember what happened during the Second World War.”

If you would like to sponsor James, please visit and to find out more about the Far East Prisoners of War visit

Mum ran for charity every single day of the year

Sorrel Hodgson

Over 200 supporters turned out to run, cheer and crack open the champagne as Sorrel Hodgson completed an amazing year of running for the Ataxia-Telangiectasia (A-T) Society.

Every single day of 2015, Sorrel ran at least 5 km (3.1 miles), clocking up an amazing 1,825 km or 1,134 miles – the equivalent of running from her home town of Nottingham to the very southernmost tip of Spain.

Sorrel has a busy life. She works with people with learning difficulties and has three young children. She found out about A-T as her children go to the same school as Kaid Betts, who has A-T. Sorrel became friends with Kaid’s mother Jo, herself an active supporter of the Society.

Ataxia-Telangiectasia, or A-T, is a rare and complex genetic disorder. It is often referred to as a ‘multi-system’ disorder because it affects a number of different systems within the body. Amongst the most significant of these are increasing difficulty in controlling and co-ordinating movements (ataxia), reduced efficiency of the immune system leading to more frequent infections (immunodeficiency) and an increased risk in developing cancers, in particular leukaemia and lymphoma.

Sorrel was moved and inspired by Kaid and Jo and last New Year, surprising even herself, she made her commitment to run 5 km a day to raise funds for the A-T Society.

She had never done anything like it before, and most of her friends thought she was crazy and would never keep it up. But keep at it she did, running day after day, come rain, wind or shine, work days and holidays alike.

Once they realised she was serious, Sorrel has had great support from her friends, and on her final run over 200 of them turned out either to run alongside her or to cheer her over the line. And in addition to raising over £2,000, she generated fantastic publicity in the local press.

William Davis, chief executive of the A-T Society said: “This is an awesome achievement and Sorrel is an inspiration to us all. She has shown that with imagination and determination anyone can achieve great things. She has made a massive contribution to the Society and to people living with A-T.”

The A-T Society aims to improve the quality of life and quality of care for people living with A-T while actively promoting research to lengthen lives and ultimately bring about a cure.

If you would like to recognise Sorrel’s extraordinary run, please visit her fundraising page.

Running Santas wanted

A national charity is looking for volunteers who are not interested in training for the London Marathon to jingle their way through a 5k or 10k Santa Run. 

Santas running for Family ActionFamily Action  is hoping to see hundreds of running Santas. There is even a free Santa suit for everyone who signs up.

No previous experience is required and the distance should be within most people’s capabilities. The spirit of the event is ‘taking part’ not ‘winning’ so you can run, jog or walk – you decide!


When: Sunday 7th December

Where: Victoria Park, London at approx. 11:00

Registration fee: £22

Fundraising Target: £100

Deadline: 31st October 2014

The fundraising team at Family Action will be here every step of the way to help you with tips and ideas for raising money.

There is already a team of 20 signed up, so if you are interested in joining the Family Action team sign up quickly!

Reserve your place at:

Vegan wins North Pole marathon

A vegan amateur athlete battled temperatures of -28C to win the women’s race in the North Pole Marathon.

Fiona Oakes, 43, from Asheldham, in Essex, broke the course record for women by 44 minutes, completing the race in 4 hours 53 minutes, despite conditions described as the worst in the marathon’s eight-year history.

She ran the northernmost marathon on earth to raise money for the Vegan Society and to support the 400 animals she personally cares for every day at her Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary.

Fiona was beaten by only two male runners and the second placed woman was 55 minutes behind Fiona’s time.

On her Facebook page after the race Fiona wrote: “Back in Spitsbergen. Job done! It is so cold and brutal in the Arctic I cannot explain. Marathon + Arctic conditions = TOUGH!”

She added: “I knew it was going to be bad but just how bad I couldn’t possibly have prepared for. Not just the consequences of running at -30 with a wind chill but for half the course through deep snow.

“I haven’t got the longest legs in the world and kept falling it was so deep as when you put your foot on it you didn’t know if it was frozen enough to take your weight.

“On one occasion I sank up to my groin, on another I fell on my hand and now have a suspected fractured thumb.

“Never mind, job done, win in the women’s race, new course record and third overall. Can’t ask for any more.”

Fiona, an honorary patron of the Vegan Society, has competed in more than 26 marathons.

She aims to be the first vegan to run a marathon on all seven continents plus the polar ice cap. In November she will take on the Volcano Marathon in the Atacama Desert the week before tackling the Antarctic Marathon, all in aid of the same charities.

Vegan Society chief executive officer, Jasmijn de Boo, said: “I believe that Fiona is a true inspiration to anyone, including runners, women, vegans and non-vegans, and above all, humanity. She shows what the values of dedication, commitment, discipline and staying cheerful in the face of hardship really mean.”

To sponsor Fiona in aid of the Vegan Society visit or to help Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary go to

Pull on your running shoes for charity

Action For Kids charity logo

Funds are being raised for Action For Kids

National kids and young people’s charity, Action For Kids, is encouraging marathon runners who have missed out on a place in the Virgin London Marathon to consider applying for a place in this year’s Brighton Marathon.

Many charity runners are disappointed each year when they fail to secure a place in the London Marathon. However, there is still an opportunity to fulfil that ambition and take on the challenge with Action For Kids, who are offering runners the chance to take part in the Brighton Marathon.

“The London Marathon is so popular these days that many runners who would really like to run and support a charity have difficulty getting a place,” says Lucy Duxbury, Events and Community Officer at the charity.

“But the Brighton Marathon offers the same physical challenge and takes in stunning coastal views and a tour of this fun-loving party city. What’s more, the crowd support is also breathtaking, with supporters lining the streets to cheer each and every runner on to the finish line.”

Everyone who volunteers to run the Brighton Marathon for Action For Kids receives help and support from the charity, including a welcome pack full of fundraising ideas and training advice, a personalised AFK running vest and guidance on setting up an online fundraising page.

Says Lucy: “We are encouraging all our runners to raise £500 (a lot less than the average London Marathon sponsorship target!) and every runner will know that they have helped to support a really worthwhile charity that makes a difference to so many young people’s lives.”

Action For Kids supports children and young people with both physical and learning disabilities find greater levels of independence and opportunity through the provision of appropriate aid and support.

Public entries to this year’s Brighton Marathon, which takes place on Sunday 14th April, have now closed, so the only way to enter is through a charity such as Action For Kids.

To find out more about running the Brighton Marathon and helping Action For Kids, please visit:

To find out more about Action For Kids and its work, please visit:

TV stars back charity marathon bid

Coronation Street star Paula Lane is calling on people to don their running shoes to raise money for a blindness charity.

The actress and her fiance, fellow actor Tom Shaw, are encouraging runners to sign up for the Virgin London Marathon and Greater Manchester Marathon to raise funds for Henshaws Society for Blind People.

Paula, who plays Kylie Platt in Corrie, chose to become an ambassador for Henshaws after visiting the charity’s Manchester Resource Centre in Old Trafford.

The couple ran the Virgin London Marathon for Henshaws last year, raising more than £2,000. They also took part in the Great Yorkshire Run and the Great North Run.

Paula said: “The work Henshaws does is amazing. I was so touched by the services that they provide – seeing what a difference they make to visually impaired people and to their families and friends.

“I ran the London Marathon last year for Henshaws as I felt that they not only deserved the sponsorship but would benefit a lot from the money raised and would be able to carry on the great work they’re already doing, so I would encourage people to sign up to run one of these marathons for Henshaws.”

Tom added: “As proud ambassadors of Henshaws, Paula and I wanted to raise some much needed funds for a great charity. We’ve seen the great work Henshaws does and felt honoured to be donning the orange jersey for the 26 miles and 385 yards.”

Henshaws currently have charity places for both the Virgin London Marathon on April 21 and the Greater Manchester Marathon on April 28.

The deadline for signing up to either marathon is March 31. For more information or to register, call  01423 814501 or email