Group of mums and dad in wig go the distance for wheelchair charity

Duxford and Ickleton runners ran the Cambridge Half in aid of Wheel's for Martin's Friends

Duxford and Ickleton runners ran the Cambridge Half in aid of Wheels for Martin's Friends - which helps people in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire to get specialist mobility equipment. - Credit: Susie Lober

A group of South Cambs mums have raised thousands taking on the Cambridge Half marathon for charity - and they were joined by a dad who stepped up after one of the runners was injured. 

Susie Lober, from Ickleton, joined other mums - all from either her village or Duxford - for the Cambridge event on Sunday in aid of Wheels for Martin’s Friends.

The Guilden Morden-based charity was founded in 1989 to raise funds for a wheelchair for teenage villager Martin Dellar. 

Martin has since passed away, but the cause continues in his memory as Wheels for Martin's Friends, and its chairman Peter Furmston is fundraiser Susie's dad. 

Duxford and Ickleton runners ran the Cambridge Half in aid of Wheels for Martin's Friends -

Duxford and Ickleton runners before the Cambridge Half in aid of Wheels for Martin's Friends - which helps people in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire to get specialist mobility equipment. - Credit: Susie Lober

Peter said: "I was absolutely delighted that Susie and her friends wanted to raise funds for us. They set a target of £1,000 and we had about £400 in entry fees so needed to get past that - and they certainly did!"

Susie and the other mums - Fiona Stephenson, Hannah Johnson, Debbie Gregory, Aisha Hunt and Clare Palserman - entered the race. Unfortunately Fiona had to pull out around a month before due to injury but Susie's husband Howard was there to step in - and he even posed for a photo on their fundraising page complete with a wig of long locks. 

Susie said: "We all met via mother and baby groups and coffee groups in Ickleton and Duxford - and we enjoy the chat as much as we like the running.

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"When I told the girls about the charity they all signed up straight away, despite some of us not having run this distance before and all being at different levels.

"Some of us have cared for children with neuro-muscular conditions that become progressively worse at a time when young adults are looking to become more independent, and having a good quality wheelchair has added considerably to their quality of life."

Between them, the runners have nine children - so it was a challenge getting all the training in.

"We were starting at 6am for a training run before the school run," Susie said. "And before the race, Hannah was up most of the night with her little baby - she ran a half marathon on two hours sleep.

Susie Lober wheels for martins friends charity run

The Duxford and Ickleton runners out training at dawn - Credit: Susie Lober

"The night before the event we contacted everyone we knew as we had passed £4,000 and wanted to get to £5k. 

"On the Sunday, we saw we had crossed that line - and now had to cross the actual finish line! The atmosphere was amazing. We started together and then ran our own races. We are now up to £5,782 and are blown away by everyone's generosity."

Charity chairman Peter said the fundraising was much needed. He said: "We've had such a sad 18 months with COVID. It's been awful not putting on events, our main fundraiser is our golf days and they couldn't go ahead. We would also do quizzes in the Edward VII pub but we couldn't do that. 

"We had an online raffle at Christmas that was very successful. At the end of lockdown we had a party at the village rec that raised about £2,000 and brought everyone together. 

Wheels for Martin's Friends charity chairman Peter Furmston

Wheels for Martin's Friends charity chairman Peter Furmston with his daughter Susie and the rest of the runners after the Cambridge Half Marathon - Credit: Susie Lober

"We have raised £10,000 on a golf day. The golf day did go ahead this year but with half the people we would usually have and half the sponsors. We are back on for next year and hopefully things will improve by then.

"I have been doing this for 32 years, and its all about the people that we've helped. When young adults get to a certain age funding that would be available when they are children is no longer available to them, so sometimes they don't get the right equipment they need.

"We help a lot of adults, but the kids getting something they need is what you most want to see. One young girl went to school in her new electric wheelchair and zoomed across the playground and was able to join her mates, which is something she couldn't do before. Things like that keep you doing what you're doing"

The mums' group fundraising page is still open - and Susie and her fellow runners would love to reach £6k with a final push for Wheels For Martins Friends. Go to http://www.peoplesfundraising.com/donation/cambridge-half-marathon to make a donation.

Chairman Peter said the money raised by Susie and the group of mums could potentially go towards helping a local student they are in touch with get a new specialist wheelchair.

Wheels for Martin's Friends has raised over £400,000 since it was founded. Further information can be found at www.wheelsformartinsfriends.org.uk.

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