Team Havens Share Their Marathon Stories

On Sunday 28th April, more than 100 runners will be running for Havens Hospices at this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon.

Team Havens have spent several months training for the event to raise vital funds for the charity that supports and cares for children, young adults and adults from across Essex at their hospices – Little Havens, Fair Havens and The J’s Hospice.

Amongst the team are relatives of some of those the charity cares for or have cared for, runners who had never run more than 5k when they signed up and some runners who year on year run and continue to fundraise for the charity. Some have chosen to share why they are running and raising money for the hospices.

Keeley Davis from Great Waltham is running her very first marathon this year and will be raising money for Havens Hospices as they help her close friend Lucy, who’s 10-year old son Harry has Mitochondrial disease. “Lucy, Harry and his two sisters who are 6 and 7 visit Little Havens for respite two or three times a year,” said Keeley. “They all get to spend quality time together, do fun activities, and are always raving about what a lovely time they have had away from routine life. Harry receives great care at Little Havens, which has a hug impact on the rest of the family. “That is good enough reason for me to want to raise money for such a great cause!”

MP for Rochford and Southend East, James Duddridge will be running his first London Marathon this year, and wanted to support a local cause that makes a real difference for the local community. James has raised £2000 in sponsorship so far recently went on a training run from the current Fair Havens to the new hospice site, then to Little Havens. He said, “I ran with other members of Team Havens and got to learn more about why they are running for the charity. It really cemented in my mind why it is so important for our local community to have services like this and how vital it is that we support them. I am immensely proud to be running the London Marathon to help them continue ‘Making every day count’”

Wickford resident, Laura Maxwell-Smith is running her first marathon for The J’s Hospice, “I decided to run for The J’s, because they offer such invaluable service for a demographic that’s often forgotten – I love that they work with Young Adults from across Essex, supporting them to live happy and fulfilling lives and I’m really pleased that I’m going to be helping them continue to do that. I’ve really enjoyed training with Team Havens, the other runners, the staff and volunteers all have such a wealth of knowledge about all things marathon which has made all the difference to my experience.

Paul and Tracey Tobin from Rochford got married last year and wanted to run together in this year’s Marathon to help raise money for Havens Hospices. Paul has two marathons under his belt, and this is Tracey’s first. Paul explained “We chose to run for Havens after Tracey got a ballot place – we wanted to run together and were hoping Havens would give me a place and they did! I’ve run before for Starlight Children’s Foundation and Little Havens. Havens is a great local charity which does so much great work. After planning our wedding, we needed a new challenge and training for the London Marathon is definitely that!!”

Primary school teacher, Steve Robinson, from Leigh on Sea, will be running his 8th London Marathon this year, having an incredible 9 marathons under his belt so far. He said, “I’m running for Little Havens because my niece is looked after by them. I always run for a children’s charity and usually raise around £2,500 each time. I’m not athletic at all, but I love marathon running. Crazy, I know!”

Sarah Gibson from Ashingdon has more than one reason for supporting Havens Hospices at this year’s London marathon. She said, “I’m running for the charity as everyone in our area knows at least one person that uses the services, plus for a friend’s terminally ill daughter, who is using Little Havens. It’s my first marathon and I’ve recently been treated for breast cancer, so it was a now or never opportunity!”

Southend United Legend, Adam Barrett is running to raise money for new Fair Havens, which is being built opposite Priory Park, after experiencing the care and support they provide when they looked after his Mum, June Barrett, in 2017. He said “I’m really pleased to be running it for Havens. I’ve been an ambassador for Little Havens for a while now and I’ve raised money for them in the past, but I’ve seen first-hand what Fair Havens do because they were fantastic with my mum.

“The care and support Havens gave us all was so vital, I can’t imagine what we would do if we hadn’t had them to turn to; so I’m really pleased that I am able to fundraise to help them build a new hospice which will mean twice as many adults and families will get that support at such a difficult time. It’s the best way I can think of to say thank you.”

Ellie-Jade Smith from Benfleet is running her very first London Marathon this year and will be supporting Havens Hospice because she wants to help people and support the charity, which was almost on her doorstep for 12 years. She explained, “I chose to run the marathon as I have never set myself a challenge like this before. I grew up close to Little Havens and would like to contribute and help the people most in need. As the quote says, ‘There is no better exercise for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.’”

Lee Allen from Canvey is running his 25th Marathon of which he has run 20 for Havens Hospices. He is running this year with fellow Team Havens runner Lisa Bush who he met at the first Havens Training Run. He said, “I always wanted to support a local charity and Havens do such amazing work for the local community – I also run for them in memory of my friend Bryan Silver who was cared for at Fair Havens. It has been great running with Lisa, we work nearby to each other in the City so have been going on lunchtime training runs together – we’re hoping to get round in under five hours!”

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