About 10 years ago my husband Rob announced he was going to run 50 miles in the Lakes and I thought he was mad. Fast forward to about 2 years ago and I was sat in a pub in Coniston on the Sunday night of the Lakeland50 weekend and Rob had just taken part in the 100 miler. After a glass or two of wine with Charlotte, one of us (I can’t remember who and no-one will accept responsibility now) voiced that maybe after supporting our husbands for many years we should give it a go ... imagine how good we would feel having that glass of wine if we'd just completed the race!
Charlotte I think thought that conversation was the last of it, but a few weeks later I was text stalking her in Canada to check she was entering the ballot. Luckily (!!) we both got in and finally (after a slight pandemic delay and thanks to an incredible team of runners – Tori, Charlie and Tanya) in less than 2 weeks we'll both be attempting to run 50 miles from Dalemain to Coniston via a few hills on the way. I’m running (or run-walking!!) this for a fantastic local charity, Supporting Older People.
Eleven years ago my mum had a significant stroke that left her wheelchair-bound and with difficulties speaking. After many months in rehabilitation she moved down to Harrogate and lived with us for the next 7 years. It was incredibly difficult and isolating leaving her good friends and support network to move to an entirely new place, knowing only us nearby and at a time when she was already feeling vulnerable.
While researching available help I came across Supporting Older People, a local charity who over the years that she lived here provided a number of volunteers who visited and spent time with her. They were fantastic and made a huge positive difference to mum’s life during her time here. Mum valued each of her volunteers and her mood was always elevated after they had been (especially if they had come with cake!). Although it started as a service provided, she made some real friends. The ongoing visits and interest in Mum as a person rather than her illness gave her an immeasurable boost in confidence and self-worth which was so critical to her well-being. As our population ages, with many isolated for a variety of reasons, this service is becoming increasingly valuable and in demand. It can make a real difference to the lives of so many people.
Supporting Older People (https://supportingolderpeople.org.uk) is a local North Yorkshire charity with a team of three part-time staff, over 150 volunteers and they are currently working with over 300 older people. Their work has changed during the pandemic but as restrictions ease they are now returning to their core work of face-to-face befriending and group social activities.
Training for the Lakeland 50 has taken a lot of grit and determination, qualities I definitely inherited from my mum. In the face of her life changing stroke she never gave up, despite many further challenges, and somehow still kept smiling. I can’t imagine what mum would think if she knew that I was doing this (she’d probably fall out of her chair laughing!!) but thoughts of her and what she got through have definitely kept me going at low points during long runs, although I can’t say I always manage the smiling part!!
I know how grateful she was for the work of Supporting Older People so any donation in her memory would be very appreciated to help them make a difference to more local older people’s lives.
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