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144 runners from across East and West Sussex took on the Grand Brighton Half Marathon this weekend in aid of Chestnut Tree House, the children’s hospice for Sussex and South East Hampshire.
The team was made up of runners with all different experience levels and with lots of reasons for running. Lorna Cobbett was running in memory of her daughter Essie who was cared for by Chestnut Tree House until she died in August last year. Essie was a triplet who fought hard to see her first birthday and whose fighting spirit Lorna is keen to honour. She aims to raise at least enough to pay for one day of Chestnut Tree House’s care in Essie’s name – a total of £6,850 – and her Half Marathon run brings the current total to £2,000.
Also running in memory of a loved one was Jenny Preece whose 3 year old nephew died very suddenly and unexpectedly in January 2016. “I’m amazingly touched to have raised over £1,100 for this amazing cause,” she said. “Before my nephew passed away we didn’t know Chestnut Tree House existed but we have had the most wonderful care and sanctuary through an extraordinarily difficult time.” This was Jenny’s first half marathon, having taken up running two years ago following a period of ill health.
Whether it was their first half marathon or their 10th all of the runners talked about the elation of completing it and the added thrill of knowing they had done something for a local charity at the same time. Kevin, who was the first Chestnut Tree runner to complete the race, commented: “doing something like this and raising money, you feel on top of the world for doing it.”
Chestnut Tree House cares for children with life-shortening conditions and their families, from diagnosis through to end of life care and beyond. They also care for families who experience an unexpected bereavement of a child. All of these services are offered free of charge yet they receive less than 7% of their care costs from central government. This means they rely heavily on the local community in order to keep their doors open.
Lauren Gowing, Events Fundraiser at Chestnut Tree House, commented “all of our runners did so well today and we would like to say a huge thank you. We are expecting them to have raised in the region of £68,000 once all of their sponsorship comes in, which is enough to cover all of Chestnut Tree House’s care cost for almost 10 days. We couldn’t have done it without our loyal band of supporters, runners and volunteers. We would like to congratulate Sussex Beacon on a successful event and thank them for supporting so many local and national charities.”
For anyone considering running for Chestnut Tree House Lorna Cobbett has this message: “just get out there and do it. I cannot explain how much Chestnut Tree House did for me and my family, both when Essie was with us and also since we lost her. They are amazing and I want people to understand that – without them my family would not be how we are today.”