It was back in 2013 when Fr Andrew Browne approached me and said, “I have an idea to raise a bit of money for the Furniture Store”. This idea of course was that, along with Marie Grant and Vic Gould, he wanted to run the Sheffield Half Marathon for the Store.
My first thought was one of deep gratitude for these three people who were willing to give up their time and believe you me, it isn’t just that Sunday in April that they give up. They train really hard throughout the year so they are ready and able to run the half marathon.
I’m not sure if you remember the 2014 marathon. It was the one that hit the news headlines, due to the fact that the water didn’t turn up! Apparently our three runners weren’t even aware that the marathon had been ‘officially’ cancelled and continued and finished the course. Talking to Fr Andrew and Marie about this experience, they say, “People were shouting that the run had been cancelled and everyone running thought they were joking. The Police and other officials didn’t stop us so we just kept going”
That first year they raised £908 for the Store, which meant we were able to buy thirteen single beds and thirteen children were able to get off the floor and sleep in a proper bed at night.
Fr Andrew and Marie enjoyed it so much that they jumped at the chance to run again in 2015, 2016, and 2017 and also this year. New organisers had taken over in 2015, following ‘Watergate’ and the hilliest, most scenic half marathon course in the country was created.
In 2015 £1173 was raised, seventeen beds were bought that year, seventeen more children off the floor.
In 2016 Declan Healy, who at the time was one of our drivers, decided he would give this half marathon malarkey a go. I remember Declan, prior to the marathon, having to do a collection in the Whirlowdale area of the City. He decided whilst there, he may as well kill two birds with one stone and he took the van for a run over the hilliest part of the marathon course. He came back rather worried, telling us that he didn’t know how he was going to do the run as even the van had trouble getting up them hills!
In 2016 a total of £2012 was raised – twenty-nine beds were bought, meaning another twenty-nine children had a comfortable night’s sleep.
In 2017, Declan broke his leg and was unable to run. However Fr Andrew and Marie went for it (they love those hills) and raised £1517.00. A further twenty-two beds were bought; twenty-two children in a warm, cosy bed at night.
Now this year, Declan re-joined the crew following his recovery!! The cheque that was presented to us for this year’s run is £1702, so another twenty-five beds will be bought. We will be able to ensure that twenty-five children will not have to go through this winter sleeping on a cold floor.
Over the past four years, one hundred and six children have been given a brand new bed due to the magnificent efforts of these people. From the start back in 2014, I used a hash tag to describe our marathon runners, which was #amazingpeopledoamazingthings. Fr Andrew, Marie, Dec and Vic, thank you from everyone at the Furniture Store.
I am sure if those hundred and six children could thank you personally, they would, so a big “Thank you” on their behalf too. You are all truly amazing.