Christmas comes early for Lowestoft fund-raiser

CHRISTMAS certainly came early for this charity runner after he won a free balloon trip for his Santa-based running achievements on Lowestoft's seafront.

Richard Woolnough was one of the 86 people who took part in the Lowestoft Santa run in December to raise vital funds for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH).

On Wednesday, the 58-year from Church Green, Lowestoft, was presented with a voucher for a hot air balloon flight as a thank-you from EACH for his fast footed fundraising effort.

Dressed as Father Christmas, the Poplars School caretaker raised �391 from the run – more than anyone else who took part.

In total the 86 runners raised more than �2,500 for EACH by running, jogging or walking a 3km route from Claremont Pier to South Pier and back.

As Mr Woolnough collected his voucher, courtesy of Breckland Balloons, he recalled how his wife Dot had volunteered him and his son, Danial, after hearing about it on the radio.

Mr Woolnough said: 'She told me I was doing it and that was that. I had never run that far before. It took me about 40 minutes.

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'I was fine afterwards until the next day when my legs started to hurt.

'But it was great fun and it was absolutely fantastic to take part and help such a good cause.'

Mr Woolnough has already pledged to take part in this December's Lowestoft Santa Run.

Vanessa Bell, EACH fundraiser organiser, said: 'We would like to thank Richard for his hard work and all of his sponsors for their generosity. EACH relies on voluntary donations for the majority of its income.

'We all hope Richard enjoys his balloon flight but gets his feet firmly back on the ground in time for this year's Lowestoft Santa Run.'

EACH needs to raise �4m a year to run its hospices at Quidenham, Ipswich and Milton and provide help at families' homes.

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