Rising to the charity challenge

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A local MP and a charity appeal coordinator are each taking on a challenge to raise cash for their chosen charities

James Duddridge MP is hoping to raise extra cash for homeless charity HARP charity this week by using his daily exercise to rack up enough miles to total the distance of a marathon.

Since the beginning of the year, the Member of Parliament for Rochford and Southend East had been training to take part in the London Marathon which had been due to take place on Sunday April 26.

However, last month the world-famous event was rescheduled to October in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, the MP is hoping to fundraise for charity by taking part in the 2.6 Challenge – a campaign spearheaded by the London Marathon organisers and charities across the country.

Participants are being asked to dream up an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 and fundraise for a chosen charity – which in James’ case is Southend’s homeless charity HARP.

James, who began the challenge on Monday with a 3.4-mile run, said: “This week would have been the week of the 40th London Marathon, but sadly it was not meant to be.

“With fundraising events like the London Marathon having to be postponed or cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, charities need our help more than ever.

“I have chosen to run the distance of a marathon – 26.2 miles – over the course of this week while trying to raise a bit more money for Southend’s homeless charity HARP.

“The Two Point Six Challenge is for all ages and abilities, and it can be an activity of any sort, as long as it follows the Government’s guidance on exercise and social distancing.”

Sunday’s London Marathon would have been James’ second-time challenge at the 26.2-mile course.

In 2019, he completed the race in 4 hours and 36 minutes, raising £3.407.07 for Havens Hospices.

Those wishing to donate to HARP can do so by visiting: justgiving.com/JamesDuddrideMP.

A Benfleet woman is also taking part in the 2.6 Challenge by holding a sponsored silence.

Terri Bush, of Bowers Road, is going to stay silent from midday on Saturday until 2pm on Sunday April 26.

“I can’t run to save my life, I don’t do heights, being cold is against my religion, but not being able to talk is going to be hell!,” says Terri, who is a volunteer stamp appeal coordinator for the Bone Cancer Research Trust.

She added: “While I am taking part in this challenge do you know someone else who would do their own mini version for us – as a family or just the children for even an hour?

“Paying BCRT £5 not to hear the children talking for a while must be a great incentive! You could also do a silent Skype/Zoom or any other video calling with a group of friends, but don’t speak…use your imagination!”

To donate to BCRT go to: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=TerriBush&pageUrl=2

To find out more about taking part in the Two Point Six Challenge, visit twopointsixchallenge.com.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]