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Havering residents get ready to brave the borough's half marathon

PUBLISHED: 10:00 03 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 October 2019

Great-grandmother Liz Preston is taking part in the Havering Half Marathon for First Step. Picture: First Step

Great-grandmother Liz Preston is taking part in the Havering Half Marathon for First Step. Picture: First Step

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Residents are preparing to take on a half marathon through the borough this weekend.

L-R: RGOA volunteer Hazel, First Base’s Liam and RGOA volunteer, Linda with the two ex-racing greyhounds Dasher and Neville. Picture: First BaseL-R: RGOA volunteer Hazel, First Base’s Liam and RGOA volunteer, Linda with the two ex-racing greyhounds Dasher and Neville. Picture: First Base

Liz Preston and Liam Ronan-Chlond are among the 1,500 runners who will be taking to the streets to complete the Havering Half Marathon on Sunday, October 6.

Liz, 67, will be raising funds for First Step, a charity that supports youngsters with special needs and disabilities in Tangmere Crescent, Hornchurch.

The great-grandmother from Elm Park said: "In 2017 First Step lost funding from the local authority and has had to draw further into its charity reserves.

"Many of you already know me as 'bucket lady' from the Mercury Mall Romford, or collecting as Mrs Christmas.

Great-grandmother Liz Preston is taking part in the Havering Half Marathon for First Step. Picture: First StepGreat-grandmother Liz Preston is taking part in the Havering Half Marathon for First Step. Picture: First Step

"I would ask you get behind this charity and help me raise urgently needed funds by sending donations or visiting our stall at the race headquarters in Abbs Cross or alternatively visit my justgiving page."

Liam, from mixed-use developer First Base, will be running the marathon dressed up as a dog in tribute to the retired Romford greyhounds and RGOA charity that cares for them.

He said: "The Romford dogs is a much-loved local institution and we want to pay tribute to this and support the care that RGOA provides retired racing greyhounds.

"It will be my first half marathon running in a dog suit, so I doubt I'll be as quick as a greyhound, but hopefully I can raise a decent amount of money for this fantastic local cause."

"Good luck to all the other runners and a big thanks to Havering MIND for bringing back this fantastic event."

First Base has been actively involved in Havering for a number of years, entering into a joint venture with Havering Council to deliver new homes, workspace, a new school and health services at Bridge Close in Romford.

The half marathon is sponsored by Wates Residential, a national developer that is currently working with Havering Council to deliver a major housing regeneration scheme in the borough.

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A team of 10 runners from Wates Residential will also be taking part in the marathon.

One member of the team is Danny Wilson, 38 from Upminster. Danny is a regional commercial manager and one of the developer's mental health first aiders.

He signed up as he wanted to participate in a local event and support Havering Mind's essential work in the borough.

He said: "It's fantastic we are getting better education about mental health and how we are all affected.

"We need charities like Mind to ensure everyone has someone to talk to, so they are not facing problems alone."

Meanwhile, David Saunders, 34, is a commercial manager working on the Havering and Wates joint venture.

"I was shocked at the amount of people the charity helps on a daily basis within the borough so hopefully this event will provide some much needed funds to assist people this year and in the years ahead," said David.

"The run takes place through some great scenic routes and will bring new people to the borough.

"Plus, we will find some new places we have not visited before!"

Paul Nicholls, managing director at Wates Residential, added: "Wates Residential is thrilled to sponsor the Havering Half Marathon.

"After 25 years, it's great to see a race like this return to the borough thanks to the organisation of local charity Havering Mind.

"Havering Mind is a vital resource for Havering residents, and I hope that this event will raise enough money to allow them to continue offering crucial mental health support in the future."

Visit justgiving.com/fundraising/liz-preston4 to support Liz.

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