Friends take on marathon challenge for charities close to their hearts

Jo Newton, Mary Pendered and Gemma Bacon who will be running the London Marathon on April 13.

Jo Newton, Mary Pendered and Gemma Bacon who will be running the London Marathon on April 13. - Credit: Archant

Three mothers who are all members of Halesworth Running Club will be taking on the London Marathon next weekend in aid of three charities close to their hearts.

Mother of three Jo Newton of Cookley will be taking part for the third time while Mary Pendered of Walpole and Gemma Bacon of Bungay will be taking part for their first and second times respectively.

In previous years Mrs Newton has raised money for cancer charities but this year she will be supporting Ataxia UK - a charity which supports people living with the neurological condition that affects balance, speech, and co-ordination. Mrs Newton has three brothers who have Ataxia, and all though some forms are treatable, at present there is no cure.

She said: 'This challenge was an ideal occasion to try and raise awareness of the condition and the wonderful charity Ataxia UK, which does so much to support sufferers and their families but continues to need funds to continue their work.

'My brothers have had to deal with so much and their future is perhaps not as rosy as it could be but they are all fairly determined to keep active and make the most of life. As a family we need to support them in many ways and knowing that research can continue through funds raised makes this challenge so worthwhile.'

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Meanwhile 54-year-old Mrs Pendered will be supporting War Child - a small charity which protects children living in the world's most dangerous war zones including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Uganda, and 50-year-old Mrs Bacon will be running on behalf of the Anthony Nolan Trust - the UK's blood cancer charity and bone marrow register.

Mrs Bacon chose the charity after meeting Oliver Rofix, a leukaemia survivor, whose life was saved by a bone marrow donor found by the Anthony Nolan Trust Register when he was just 21.

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She said: 'Eight years later he still devotes almost all his time and energy to making people aware of what happened to him through challenges, helping other sufferers focus on positive challenges while raising funds for charities.

'We have now become firm friends and he too will be running the London Marathon on behalf of the Anthony Nolan Trust in 2015, which is truly remarkable after all he's been through.'

To sponsor any of the women, who will be completing the challenge on April 13, visit their just giving pages:

•Are you raising money for charity? Email

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