Harlow teenager raises hundreds running London Marathon in memory of grandfather

Athletics / Tue 5th Oct 2021 at 08:35am

HARLOW teenager, Charlie Neville, was one of 350 British Heart Foundation (BHF) Champions who took to the streets of London on Sunday 3rd October to conquer the Virgin Money London Marathon and raise funds for the charity’s life saving research.  

This is the first time since April 2019 that the iconic event has taken place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and over 100 BHF Champions took part in the race virtually alongside the BHF runners who pounded 26.2 miles of the Capital’s streets.

The event comes as the BHF seeks to recover its income in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year the charity saw its income cut in half, after nearly all its fundraising events were cancelled and its shops were forced to close for months on end. So far, BHF London Marathon runners have raised over £911,000 which will go towards improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart and circulatory diseases, which currently affect more than 7.6 million people in the UK.  

Amongst those running was Charlie Neville, 19, from Harlow, who raised an incredible £500. He took on the iconic challenge in memory of his grandad, Allan, who passed away from heart disease in May 2019 aged 79.

Charlie said: “We donated money from Grandad’s funeral to the British Heart Foundation, and I was inspired to run the London Marathon for them in his honour. Then, last week, before the marathon my great uncle Phil had a heart attack. Thankfully, he survived and had a stent fitted. He’s at home recovering now but the rest of the family came out today to cheer me on.”

Charlie ran his first marathon in four hours thirty minutes. After crossing the finish line, Charlie said: “Taking part in the London Marathon was a huge challenge and an incredible experience. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s been a long wait to get to the start line and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and the money I’ve raised for the British Heart Foundation.

“The atmosphere on the day was electric and I want to say thank you to all the amazing people on the side lines cheering me on, they really inspire you to keep going and put a smile on your face.

“Knowing that the money I have raised will help the British Heart Foundation raise vital funds for life saving research for people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases was also a huge motivator.”   

Lizzie Moscardini, Events Manager at the BHF, added: “It’s fantastic to see Charlie’s determination and courage in helping the British Heart Foundation raise life saving funds for people living with heart and circulatory diseases. 

“The stories of why our amazing supporters take part never fails to amaze me and it was incredible to be back at this legendary event, cheering Charlie and our other BHF runners on.

“It’s thanks to the commitment of people like Charlie, that the BHF has been able to continue to fund ground breaking discoveries including pacemakers and genetic testing for inherited heart conditions that help transform lives.”

To sign up to run for the BHF in next year’s London Marathon, visit  www.bhf.org.uk/londonmarathon2022   

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