Cromer Budgens boss to run two marathons in memory of staff member who died from cancer
A Cromer supermarket owner will be swapping trolleys for trainers when he sets off to Amsterdam in a couple of weeks, to run the first of two marathons in memory of a friend and employee who died of cancer.
Jinx Hundal, who owns Budgens, in High Street, was inspired to set himself the double, 26-mile challenge by the courage shown by management team member Shirley Lodge, who died aged 52 on August 30 after the breast cancer she thought had been defeated 10 years ago returned last year and spread to her bones.
Shirley, whose husband David works at Cromer Budgens as a home delivery driver, first worked at the store in 1975, when it was owned by Rusts. She was presented with her 25-year long service award a few years ago.
A much-loved staff member, She was a keen dancer and singer, and regularly performed with Cromer and Sheringham Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society.
"She was absolutely lovely, she was always smiling and was really popular with customers, so when a friend suggested running a marathon, I thought it would be great to do it for Shirley and David," Mr Hundal said.
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Irish-born friend and former colleague Ronan Potter came up with the idea of entering the annual Amsterdam marathon, which regularly attracts around 15,000 runners.
Budgens Cromer customer service manager Heather Cox, who was Shirley's best friend, suggested raising funds for Cancer Research UK and Norfolk cancer charity Big C.
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"From a passing comment, things developed and we ended up deciding to run a second marathon, in Dublin, two weeks later," Mr Hundal said.
Dividing his time between the Cromer store and his other Budgens shops at Norwich and Brundall means Mr Hundal has to get up at 4am and often doesn't get home until late evening, leaving little time for training.
"Although I keep fairly fit, running 26 miles is another thing, so to say I was nervous would be fair comment," he said. "But I'm determined to finish, no matter what."
Mr Hundal will be cheered on by wife Sandy when he sets off from Amsterdam's Olympic Stadium on October 16 - and from the centre of Ireland's capital city on October 31.
He has set himself a target of raising �2,000, but says that, with the support shown so far by customers, staff, friends and family, he is confident of raising more.
Donations to Jinx's double marathon challenge can be handed in at Budgens Cromer, or made online at www.justgiving.com/Shirley-Lodge