Runners get set to race for Kenilworth funds

Julian Henley  with children Matilda and Austin. Picture by Heather Richardson
Julian Henley with children Matilda and Austin. Picture by Heather Richardson

Eager runners are ready to put themselves through their paces to complete the London Marathon for the first time to raise charity funds in the name of family and friends.

Father-of-two Julian Henley hopes to complete the 26.2-mile run next month and bring in as much as possible for research charity, Fight for Sight.

Emily Suffield

Emily Suffield

Charity worker Emily Suffield hopes to complete what will be her first ever marathon on April 26 to support Samaritans in memory of her friend Will Madsen.

Julian, a 40-year-old civil engineer has been training hard, completing the Coventry Half Marathon and the Ashby20 road race as part of his training plan to clock up the miles - all to help fund a brighter future for his daughter Matilda who suffers from corneal dystrophy - a currently incurable eye condition for which the charity is investigating breakthrough treatment.

Matilda Henley was diagnosed with the rare and painful genetic condition at 18 months old and may one day lose her sight as a result.

Speaking about his challenge, her dad said: “I wanted to give myself a considerable challenge.

It’s devastating to hear that your daughter has an eye condition and we are determined to raise funds for vital research that will help Matilda and others like her to have a future that they can see.

Julian Henley

“It’s devastating to hear that your daughter has an eye condition and we are determined to raise funds for vital research that will help Matilda and others like her to have a future that they can see.”

To add to the kitty, the family has also raised £900 by selling sticky toffee puddings, and launching their own hand decorated ‘giving plates’.

And across the town, 23-year-old Emily who works for Hewadway, has been working hard to make up the miles and pull in funds ahead of her first ever marathon.

Running in memory of her university friend who committed suicide, she said: “I have always thought about doing the marathon, but never been a big runner.

“It is a chance for me to really challenge myself to do something positive in memory of Will, who took his own life in April. It was a horrible shock and a great tragedy for all his friends and family.

“He was such a great friend and an energetic and fun person to be around. This is how we all want to remember Will and therefore I decided I wanted to do something positive in his memory.”

Thanks to support from friends and a quiz night, she has already raised £2,248 with hope to reach at least £3,000 by race day.

To support Fight for Sight, visit his fundraising page here and search for Julian Henley to donate.

Visit Emily’s fundraising page here where donations can be made to Samaritans.