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Run from Land's End to John O' Groats expected to raise £20,000 for two charities

By Gordon Calder

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A RUN from Land's End to John O' Groats is expected to raise £20,000 for two charities. The RunAcross UK was organised by Iris Hammond, a 20-year-old student, who was inspired to take on the task by her 12-year-old sister, Nancy, who was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome soon after she was born.

Iris spent the past year getting the event organised while studying law and business at the University of the West of England in Bristol and working as a waitress.

She assembled 75 runners from all over the country, including Lorna Stanger from Caithness, to take part in the run which got underway on Thursday (March 21) to coincide with World Down Syndrome Day. It is due to finish at John O' Groats on April 3.

Iris ran the first mile from Land's End with Nancy while mam and dad Anna and Ralph will be taking part in the run, too – Anna in Cornwall and Ralph from Brora to Helmsdale. Iris, whose parents and sister live in Taunton in Somerset, will also run from Wick railway station to Groats.

Iris Hammond (left) with her sister Nancy who inspired her to organise the run
Iris Hammond (left) with her sister Nancy who inspired her to organise the run

Her initial target was to raise £10,000 for Down's Syndrome Scotland and the Down's Syndrome Association but that was quickly surpassed as donations rolled in as word about the event was spread by family, friends and through social media. The total just before the run got underway stood at £16,000 and with a further £3000 to add from Gift Aid it looks like the final figure will exceed £20,000.

Iris said: "My little sister, Nancy, has inspired me to organise this charity event in aid of two wonderful charities. Viewing the world through Nancy’s eyes is one of the most beautiful parts of my life, she has taught me patience, kindness and unconditional love. She is my biggest blessing."

She added: "We have raised £16,000 already but are hoping to hit £20,000 now."

Lorna Stanger, who has undertaken a number of fund-raising runs herself, said the event will unite runners across the UK and she described the amount of money already raised as "amazing."

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