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HARPER PAIR RAISE £4,000 FOR CHARITY CLOSE TO THEIR HEARTS

Posted 22 April 2004

A father and daughter team from Harper Adams University College have raised around £4,000 for charity after tackling the 24th London Marathon.

Charles and Helen Murray with Fauja   Singh Charles and Helen Murray, who both work at the agricultural college, in Shropshire, joined some 33,000 competitors to run the 26-mile marathon on Sunday. Dressed as fairies, the pair braved driving rain and chilly temperatures and several injuries, including shin splints and tendonitis, to finish the race in just over five hours. The picture shows Charles and Helen with Fauja Singh, the oldest runner in the race at 93.

They ran in aid of Bliss, the charity which helps premature babies. Helen herself was born three month premature in 1983, weighing – at just over 2lbs - less than a bag of sugar. The 21-year-old fought for her life in an incubator for two months before her relieved parents were able to take her home, weighing just 4lbs 5oz.

Charles, a field trials manager at the Newport college, said: “I found the whole thing very humbling; when my ankle hurt I was passed by a chap with no foot. We had ageing soldiers yomping along with 25Kg back-packs and also got to meet Fauja Singh, the 93-year-old runner, who was also raising money for BLISS. We did the first twelve miles spot on 11 minutes per mile then it went a bit pear-shaped but Helen kept me going with supplies of jelly babies.”

He added: “The support from friends, family, colleagues at Harper Adams and people from around the country who sent us donations was tremendous, and during the event itself I found it quite emotional to think half a million people were standing in the rain for three hours just to cheer us on.”

Helen, who inherits her love of running from Charles, an award-winning sprinter in his youth, said running the marathon was an uplifting experience. “I’ve watched the London Marathon on the television for the last few years and always thought I would love to do it. Now just seemed like the right time. And it was great fun, I’m so glad we did it.” Now a student at Exeter University, Helen works at Harper Adams during the holidays.

Father and daughter aimed to raise £3,200, but thanks to the generosity of their supporters, estimate they have raised at least £4,000.

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