Former House of Lords speaker, 71, conquers half marathon for charity in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 17:55 21 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:55 21 July 2020
A former speaker of the House of Lords conquered a half marathon near her Norfolk home to raise funds for a charity’s COVID-19 appeal.
Baroness Helene Hayman, who lives near Watton, ran the 13.1-mile distance on Sunday, July 19.
The 71-year-old was a Labour MP in the 1970s and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1996, before becoming the first ever Lord Speaker.
She later became a trustee for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a group bringing together 14 leading UK aid charities during times of crisis.
With her term as a trustee coming to an end, Baroness Hayman decided to run a half marathon and raise money for the DEC’s Coronavirus Appeal as a parting gift.
The appeal, which has so far raised £13.5m, is aimed at helping those forced to flee their homes due to conflict in countries including Yemen, Syria and Somalia, who now face the deadly new threat of COVID-19.
Baroness Hayman, who has spent much of lockdown in training, said: “I have been so impressed by the DEC’s work and the way it helps people in the most desperate situations.
“I was in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis and in Nepal after the big earthquake, so I have seen first hand the work being done.
“During lockdown I have been trying to get fitter, but had never contemplated doing anything like a half marathon before and it became a personal challenge.
“The Coronavirus Appeal is particularly aimed at people in refugee camps. We all know how difficult the pandemic has been, but it’s nothing compared with the conditions these people are living in and the threat of starvation.”
During Sunday’s run, Baroness Hayman was joined by her husband, son and daughter-in-law, who accompanied her at different stages of the course.
While admitting the final couple of miles were “brutal”, she said the support of family and desire to reach her £3,000 target were all-important in completing the challenge.
“My three-year-old grandson was cheering me on and my family were there at the end,” added Baroness Hayman. “They really spurred me on and that made all the difference.”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.