Online Editions

5th Jul, 2022

First time marathon mum to run for Warwickshire causes close to her heart

A GRATEFUL mum from Warwick is giving back to two causes close to her heart.

Claire Hammond is gearing up for her first London Marathon in October – in aid of charities Molly Olly’s Wishes, which supports children with life-limiting illnesses, and Northleigh House School, attended by her child.

The school was established in Shrewley, in 2012, by Viv and late husband Fred Morgan who were moved by stories of bullying in secondary schools.

They decided to address the growing need for a safe and nurturing environment for pupils, educating them while providing counselling and support.

Claire explained: “Both charities bring light to children and families facing darkness. I know Molly’s family well, and I wanted to play a small part in helping them grant wishes to children and their families who are facing such difficult circumstances.

“My child attends Northleigh House School, and we are truly thankful for this place. Northleigh has offered my family a lifeline and hope for the future.

“My child was unable to attend secondary school due to severe anxiety, spending two years at home but Northleigh has been central to rebuilding their mental health, enabling our child to live a full life which has, in turn, benefited us all as a family. Without it, our lives would be unthinkable. We are so grateful. It is thanks to Northleigh House that our family can breathe, smile and enjoy our lives.”

“Mainstream schools are paralysed by Ofsted rules, and performance tables, preventing them from adapting to the emotional and well-being needs of their pupils. Northleigh gets to the heart of what is important and removes those barriers.”

Co-founder Viv said: “Our students have experienced traumas of some kind that have left them emotionally vulnerable within mainstream schools so they are often ‘switched off’ from learning.

“We are always incredibly grateful to friends and supporters like Claire, who literally go the extra mile to support us. We have been so impressed by her hard work and will be cheering her all the way!”

Molly Olly’s Wishes was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

The Warwick-based charity supports children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses and their families as well as grant wishes and donate therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.

Claire added: “I asked Rachel to share with me some of the wishes they have granted, to remind me of the joy they bring amongst the pain and suffering, and this has spurred me on in my training when things have felt tough.

“It is as much a mental challenge as it is physical one, so I want to be strong mentally and to not panic on the day and fear that I can’t do it. When you run, especially long distances, you have to learn to silence the voices in your head telling you that you can’t do it. I don’t listen to music or anything when I run, so I have been practising this as much as clocking up the miles on my training runs.”

Visit www.northleigh.co.uk and www.mollyolly.co.uk for information on the charities and visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com and search Claire Hammond to support her cause.

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