Chestnut Tree House’s original fundraising event – the Littlehampton 10k – has been running longer than the hospice itself, with the first run taking place in September 2003, just two months before Chestnut Tree House officially opened its doors to children and families. 15 years on, the Littlehampton 10k sold out for the second year running, and the 1,461 runners that took part on Sunday 9 September are set to raise £60,000 for the children’s hospice.
The 10k run attracted a variety of participants, from individuals and groups of friends to corporate groups and running clubs. The sell-out event was packed with both experienced and first-time runners, and attire ranged from sportswear to people dressed in tutus and even one as Scooby Doo.
The race kicked off on Littlehampton beach promenade at 09:30, after a warm-up by Natalie Whitehead (Whole Body Fitness) and More Radio; and a few words from the Chairman of Trustees at Chestnut Tree House, Derwyn Jones; and the Mayor of Littlehampton Town Council, Councillor Billy Blanchard-Cooper.
Following his success at the Littlehampton 10k last year, 31 year-old Andrew McCaskill from Lancing was again the first person to cross the finish line after just 33 minutes. Andrew was running in memory of his friend, Neville, whose favourite charity was Chestnut Tree House. Lucy Thraves was the fastest female runner, with a new personal best of 37 minutes.
Among the runners, were 172 people forming ‘Team Essie’ – led by Lorna and Steve Cobbett, inspired by their triplet daughter, Essie, who sadly passed away aged 18 months last August after being cared for by Chestnut Tree House. Building on the success of last year’s team of 100, the 172-strong ‘Team Essie’ created a sea of red on the day with their bespoke red t-shirts, and are on track to raise £20,000.
Essie’s mum, Lorna Cobbett said: “Team Essie was about 172 runners, one beautiful angel and no other reason required. Seeing the sea of red t-shirts with Essie’s name on the front throughout the Littlehampton 10k was everything and more we’d ever hoped for. It made me realise that Essie’s legacy and ability to raise awareness and much-needed funds for the amazing Chestnut Tree House is nothing short of spectacular. Thank you to each and every one of you.”
Team Essie were just one of the teams who signed up to raise vital funds for Chestnut Tree House. Smashing their original target of £500, ‘Team Rudy’ were running in memory of Rudy Heward, and have currently raised £1,940; and ‘Archie’s Entourage’ have raised £2,230. Many of the charity’s corporate supporters also got involved, including Willmott Dixon, with a team of 16 runners and a group of volunteers to man the water stop.
Lauren Gowing, Events Fundraiser for Chestnut Tree House said: “We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who took part in the Littlehampton 10k. It’s a very special event for us as it was our original fundraising event, which has been running as long as we have. We are so grateful for the ongoing support we have received over the last 15years, as without this, we wouldn’t be able to continue helping local life-limited children and their families.
“We need to raise £6,850 every day to pay for all the specialist care services at Chestnut Tree House – both at the hospice and in families’ own homes, which makes events like the Littlehampton 10k invaluable.
“Sponsorship money is still coming in, but we’re hoping that we’ll reach £60,000, which will cover over eight days of care at Chestnut Tree House.
“In addition to the participants, we would like to thank all the supporters and volunteers who helped, as well as our sponsors, including Harbour Park; Boost Marketing; Anytime Fitness, Worthing and LivingWell Health Club, Arundel. Thanks too to East Beach Café for serving free tea and coffee to all our runners on the day. Thank you for making a difference, and helping us to make every moment count.”
Images from the day are available from Sussex Sport Photography: http://sspimg.com/Chestnut-Tree-10k-2018-Galleryand a donation will be made to Chestnut Tree House for each photo purchased.
Chestnut Tree House opened its doors on 11 November 2003 and currently provides care and support to around 300 children and young people with life-shortening conditions and their families across Sussex and South East Hampshire – both at the hospice and in families’ own homes. The cost of providing this vital service is over £3.9 million per year, yet the hospice receives less than 6% central government funding so relies heavily on the generosity and support of the community to continue providing vital care to children and families.