Marathon efforts for charities close to their hearts

Barclays Bank staff Sharon Elsley and Fiona Coles are running the London Marathon for Children with

Barclays Bank staff Sharon Elsley and Fiona Coles are running the London Marathon for Children with Cancer UK - Credit: Nick Butcher

The heartbreaking story behind a children's cancer charity has inspired two north Suffolk mothers to take part in the London Marathon next month.

Marcus Nichols who will be running the London Marathon in aid of the East Anglian Air Ambulance

Marcus Nichols who will be running the London Marathon in aid of the East Anglian Air Ambulance - Credit: Archant

Sharon Elsley, 47, and Fiona Coles, 39, who both work at Barclays bank in Beccles, will be running for Children with Cancer UK - set up by parents who lost both their children to cancer within nine months of each other.

Mrs Elsley will be running the marathon for the eighth time this year, while Mrs Coles will be making her marathon debut. Together they hope to raise £2,000 which will be matched pound for pound by Barclays.

Mrs Elsley said: 'I used to do a bit of running and my husband said to me why don't you do it for a purpose. Once you've done one marathon you can't stop.

'Every year I have supported the same charity. It's such a sad story about how it started and I think the work they do is brilliant.


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'No child should suffer from cancer so anything we can do to reduce the levels of childhood cancer is fantastic.'

Around 3,600 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK.

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To boost donations both women, joined by their colleagues and some customers, ran a marathon each day in the branch for a week earlier this month. They are also holding competitions to guess the names and birthdays of Mr Men and Little Miss characters in the banking hall.

Mrs Coles added: 'We have been doing a lot of running to prepare ourselves for it. I'm a little bit apprehensive because I don't know what to expect but I'm pleased to be doing it with Sharon.'

To sponsor them visit www.justgiving.com/fiona-coles

n A north Suffolk man is hoping to raise the £2,270 it costs every time the East Anglian Air Ambulance is called out on a mission by also completing the London Marathon.

Marcus Nichols of St Cross, South Elmham, secured his spot through the ballot and decided to run for the air ambulance after witnessing firsthand the work they do at the scene of an incident involving an elderly neighbour. Mr Nichols, 37, who works as a graphic designer, joined Bungay Black Dog Running Club in 2011, and since then has taken part in the Bungay Marathon, and a two-day running challenge covering 70 miles from Carlisle Castle to Newcastle Gateshead.

He is hoping to finish the London Marathon in less than four hours.

He said: 'Having lived in East Anglia all my life I've seen the East Anglian Air Ambulance working on several occasions, and regularly hear them flying overhead – ever aware of the reason.

'In the summer of 2013 I was second on scene to an incident involving an elderly neighbour.

'Unfortunately nothing could be done to save them, and while I was with them the East Anglian Air Ambulance arrived. Looking back, knowing that they were doing everything in their power to provide assistance – makes me think of the extreme importance of this service.

'It costs £2,270 every time the East Anglian Air Ambulance is used, and I'd love to be able to raise enough money to pay for just one of their missions.'

Mr Nichols has been preparing for the challenge by doing plenty of off-road running, cycling and swimming.

To sponsor him visit www.justgiving.com/marcusrunsvlm/

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