‘Hero’ Gary running a 10k every day in May to save Bognor dance group

DM16116513a.jpg Gary Brien (centre) is running a 10k every day throughout May to stop Dream Dance group in Bognor Regis from closing. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160905-175505008
DM16116513a.jpg Gary Brien (centre) is running a 10k every day throughout May to stop Dream Dance group in Bognor Regis from closing. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160905-175505008

A ‘mini hero’ is currently running a 10k every day through May in a bid to help save a popular children’s performing arts group.

Gary Brien is doing 31 consecutive runs, which will see him complete more than 190 miles by May 31.

Gary will run more than 190 miles during the month of May

Gary will run more than 190 miles during the month of May

Gary’s daughter is one of more than 80 children who go to Dream Dance, a Bognor Regis group now in danger of folding.

After completing his ninth 10k, Gary, 51, said: “My daughter Amy has been going there for about three years and absolutely loves it.

“She told me they need to raise £10,000 so they can get their own premises so I started to think how I could help raise a few quid. Running 10k a day in May rhymed so I thought why not?”

Those out in Bognor early enough in the morning may well have already seen him treading a similar route to the one hundreds of runners will do at this Sunday’s Bognor Prom 10k.

DM16116528a.jpg Gary Brien is running a 10k every day throughout May to stop Dream Dance group in Bognor Regis from closing. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160905-175516008

DM16116528a.jpg Gary Brien is running a 10k every day throughout May to stop Dream Dance group in Bognor Regis from closing. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160905-175516008

Dream Dance began in February 2012 with two classes a week, and now offers 19 classes for children aged from two to 16.

Classes include ballet, tap, musical theatre, singing, drama and street dance, and each year the children perform two special shows.

Mum-of-two Chelsey Chambers started Dream Dance as a hobby, and along with the three other volunteer directors wants to turn it into a Community Interest Company.

Chelsey said: “We’re in the Bersted Green Learning Centre and they’ve been really good to us, but we want to be able to offer other activities as well as dance, things like fitness classes and toddler groups. We want to help everybody, not just children.

Gary with young group member Annabelle Rookley. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160905-175454008

Gary with young group member Annabelle Rookley. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160905-175454008

“I’ve been doing it as a hobby now for four years without getting paid. I absolutely love it but it’s now at a point where I need to get a full-time job because of my family.

“I don’t want to give it up but at the moment I don’t have much choice.”

They have identified a suitable site in Ockley Road which has planning consent for them to use. Although they can afford the monthly rent, they need to raise £10,000 to cover the deposit, first three months’ rent upfront and fees. Chelsey named Gary the group’s ‘mini hero’ and said there were plans for a picnic in Hotham Park for his last run on May 31.

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