AN ALDWICK man is running his first marathon this month after being inspired by a young child’s first steps.
Rich Sherwell is set to make his London Marathon debut. He expects to raise some £3,000 from pounding the streets of the capital for 26.2 miles.
Half the money will go to the Give 4 Beth campaign he helped to set up. The other half will be donated by Rich to Children with Cancer UK.
Give 4 Beth was started for Bethany Chiddle, the four-year-old daughter of two close friends of Rich.
Beth, who lives in Felpham, has quadriplegic cerebral palsy to mean she would never sit up properly.
But her parents discovered a surgeon in the USA who would operate to give her the ability to walk at a cost of £40,000.
This gave rise to the campaign. Beth had the operation just before last Christmas and has made good progress with the help of intense physiotherapy.
Rich said: “Setting up the not-for-profit organisation, Give 4 Beth, has really given me the motivation to take on the challenge.
“It has also laid the foundation for further charity work in the months and years to come, which I am really excited about.
“I really hope I can help many other young people like Bethany in the future to achieve their own life-changing dreams and goals, whatever they may be.”
Rich began training last autumn and has endured dire winter weather.
“It’s been a case of just getting out there and clocking up those miles, come rain, snow and occasional shine,” he said.
“I have clocked up 350-plus miles, covering runs in and around the Bognor Regis and Chichester area, stretching from Elmer to Goodwood. I’ve done all the training on my own.
“The fundraising to date has gone really well too and I am exceptionally grateful to the kindness and generosity so many people have shown to me.”
This support came from businesses, in spite of the current economic climate, as well as families and friends.
Donations to www.virginmoneygiving.com/RichSherwell for Children with Cancer UK or the Give 4 Beth Facebook page.