Two Wellington police officers – Sgt Helen Boyd and PC Dan Bishop – plus Dan’s partner Chris O’Connor – are on target to complete the London Marathon on 13 April and, in doing so, hope to raise £6,000 for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Their charity has been chosen for a very personal reason: three years ago Dan’s sister Andrea, who lives in Taunton, went blind literally overnight with papillopathy, a rare condition which affects the optic nerve. Once she had received a diagnosis she was registered blind within three weeks and, as a result, lost both her job as a carer and her independence.
Dan said, “Andrea got her labrador, Sandy, about 18 months ago from Guide Dogs for the Blind and he’s made a massive difference to her life. She was really active and sociable before this happened and became very limited but Sandy has given her a new lease of life. It’s remarkable to see how much her life has improved since she got Sandy.”
Such is his determination to complete the 26 mile marathon course, Dan (38) has already lost 2 stone from his 6ft 5ins frame and has overcome an injury-related interruption to his training “by riding my bike every day, even in this weather.” Helen’s training schedule involves running 20 miles a week between shifts. “We’d like to do it in about 5 or 6 hours. The race is not far off now so 8 weeks from now we’ll be very tired!” Helen said.
The idea for entering the London Marathon came after they completed the Cardiff half-marathon in October in just over 2 hours. “We’d trained for that and it just seemed natural to continue,” explained Helen. “Once we’d been accepted for London we then began to think about what charity we’d like to raise money for and Guide Dogs seemed such an obvious choice. We’d be delighted to reach our target and would welcome donations from anyone who’d like to contribute.”
“Our next fundraising event is a coffee, cake and jumble sale on this Saturday 22nd February 2014 from 10am till 2pm at Churchingford Village Hall and our giving page for donations is www.virginmoneygiving.com/running4guidedogs.”
Report & Photos: Gill Paltridge