Jack inspires 112-mile, 24-hour run
Jack with sister Lotte in the Charlton Farm spa pool
A FUNDRAISER is taking on a gruelling running challenge in support of the region’s children’s hospice, after being inspired by a boy from Emersons Green.
Dad-of-three Paul Dennett, from Coalpit Heath, is planning to run 112 miles from London to his home in just 24 hours.
Paul, who thought up the challenge to mark his upcoming 44th birthday, is calling it the Long Run Home and will attempt it over the weekend of February 6-7 next year.
He is looking for sponsorship and donations in support of Children’s Hospice South West, a charity he has already raised more than £26,000 for over the years.
Paul is the founder of running and fitness club Active Soul UK and one of his friends in the club, Alex Bright, from Emersons Green, has been supported by CHSW’s Charlton Farm hospice at Wraxall for the past ten years.
Alex’s son Jack, 13, has Pallister-Killian syndrome, an extremely rare, life-limiting illness, and requires round the clock care.
Described as a “super-cheeky chap”, Jack enjoys visits to the hospice, particularly sessions with a music therapist, and his sister Lotte, 14, is also supported by the hospice’s sibling team.
Alex said: “I’ve always been clear with Lotte from the beginning about what the hospice is. She knew we were coming because we needed some help and that there would be children there who would be ill, and some who would die.
“Siblings of poorly children often turn into natural carers, and that’s what happened to Lotte. When we first came to Charlton Farm for respite she wouldn’t leave Jack’s side, but the sibling team have been there since day one. They have a wealth of experience to help her and she listens to them.
“She values their time and experience and they understand how she feels as a sibling of a child who may not have a long life.”
Alex says voluntary donations are vital to keep the hospice going to support families like hers, and is calling on people to donate to Paul’s fundraising challenge.
She said: “Our wheels would’ve completely fallen off many, many years ago if we hadn’t had the hospice. They have been there through many of life’s ups and downs.”
Jack has been at Craig-Y-Parc School – a fulltime residential school just outside of Cardiff – since February this year.
Alex said: “I miss Jack immensely and it would be lovely to come back to Charlton Farm to stay, but obviously we can’t during the pandemic. But I know Lotte can contact the sibling team if she needs to talk or needs a listening ear. They are absolutely amazing.”
Active Soul UK contributes 50% of its monthly membership fees to CHSW.
Paul will start his challenge at Trafalgar Square on February 6 next year.
He said: “Four years ago, when I started Active Soul UK, the aim was to help people get active and raise as much as we could for the charity.
“With COVID-19 our fundraising has taken a massive hit, so it’s time to put the trainers back on and get out there.
“I have never run further than 52 miles. This is the biggest challenge I will have ever done.
“Please help us raise as much money as we can for an amazing charity.”
CHSW community fundraiser Frances Kenneally said: “It costs around £11 million to run all three hospice sites each year and we rely almost entirely on voluntary contributions to fund this vital service.
“We are so grateful for everything Paul has done and continues to do to support short and precious lives.”
To support Paul visit his fundraising page at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TheLongRunHome.