These people make this country great says organiser as record amount is handed out

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By Walsall Advertiser | Friday, November 30, 2012, 09:20

A "PHENOMENAL" £281,652 was raised for good causes across the region by participants of this year's Great Midlands Fun Run, it was announced this week.

The 8.5-mile charity event around the streets of Sutton Coldfield and through the town's main park saw a record fundraising total follow a record entry of 7,000, with would-be participants again having to be turned away. The staggering figure for charities and organisations is more than £50,000 higher than last year at a time when charitable donations elsewhere have been falling.

It brings the total money raised in ten years of the Great Midlands Fun Run to more than £1.5 million (£1,550,202).

The Fun Run has also raised over £500,000 in just the past two years, which both achieved record-breaking totals.

GMFR event director Tracey Spare, speaking at the presentation night at Duke Street Chapel in Sutton Coldfield last Sunday, said: "The figure raised was phenomenal. If you asked in 2003 where would you be in ten years' time, I would never have thought we would have raised £1.5 million.

"The success of the event I think is because we are not a race, it is a run and it's an achievable distance. We are not asking for people to do PBs, we are asking for people to go out and raise money and they do. The presentation night is what it's all about – seeing organisations people have an affinity with and want to support receive some funds.

"Whatever happens throughout the year, it's a means to this."

John Taylor Hospice based in Erdington won the Cookes Furniture Team Challenge by raising £26,200 – the third year in a row that it has achieved the biggest sum. It also had the most runners.

And plenty of other organisations secured big totals including £17,256 raised for St Giles Hospice, £6,800 for the Cancer Support Centre, ten per cent up on last year, £10,000 for Sutton-based Breast Friends – more than doubling last year's total – and £10,000 for the Edward's Trust which provides counselling for parents that have lost children.

Cancer Research UK received £20,600 in its fight against the killer disease with spokeswoman Sue Medcalf explaining the pioneering research it undertakes against the 200 forms of cancer, with £8-9 million being spent in Birmingham alone.

This has helped see cure rates for some cancers such as leukaemia and testicular cancer go from ten per cent 40 years ago to 90 per cent now.

Macmillan Cancer Support received £9,000 to help with its work while Troop Aid with the help of Mad Friends received £2,700 to pay for toiletries, clothes, necessities and luxuries for servicemen and women.

Al Sutton from the charity said: "They are the best in the world and they deserve the best treatment."

One of the most emotional fund-raising efforts mentioned on the night was Team Zeemon which raised £11,800 for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.

Hayley Fenn told the audience of how her husband (then boyfriend) Simon was admitted to Good Hope Hospital on Christmas Day last year, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January and died six weeks later, with the couple having just enough time to get married.

His message to Hayley before he died was, "be the best you can be" and she along with Simon's family used this as inspiration to form an orange-clad Fun Run fund-raising team.

Tracey Spare said Team Zeemon were what the Fun Run was all about. "For his family to turn such a tragic moment into a positive is astonishing.

"It was a privilege to have met them. They are what this country needs. They are the kind of people that make this country great."



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