A man from Broadway in Worcestershire is running 53 miles in one day this summer to help raise vital funds for the Gloucestershire hospice where his partner works.

James Hands, 37, an Insurance Broker from Broadway, is in training to take on an ultramarathon challenge starting in Stroud, running his way along the Cotswold Way to finish at Broadway Tower.

As he does so he hopes to raise £1,000 for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice where his partner, Georgie Paul, works as a Staff Nurse.

James said, “I am so grateful to Georgie and all of her colleagues for the care they give to people when they need it most.

"Hearing about the great work at the hospice is one of the reasons behind wanting to raise funds for Sue Ryder.

“Georgie does an amazing job and she is my inspiration. I am running this to raise funds as a thank you to Georgie.

“I had been aware of the charity prior to Georgie working there, but in the time she has worked at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice I have gained so much more knowledge about the amazing care they give.

“The last 12 months we have all had to go through a lot, but in the six months Georgie has worked at Sue Ryder

"I have come to realise hospices have found it especially tough. It’s renewed my appreciation of the service they give. Hospices should be at the forefront of people’s minds right now.”

James had originally planned to run the ultramarathon as part of an officially organised event, but the event organisers have been forced to cancel it due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

Undeterred, James plans to take on the event alongside one of his friends on June 5.

He said: “It doesn’t make a difference to us that the organisers have pulled out of the event as we plan to carry on running. However, it does mean that we will no longer have water and feed stations along the route.

“I’m lucky that I will be in a safe pair of hands with Georgie, who is going to mirror the pit stops along the route and be there for us ready armed with food and drinks and tape and plasters to patch us back up again so we can keep on going.”

And James will need this support to see him through the gruelling back to back marathon challenge across tough terrains and hills.

“Starting at 7am we will come out of Stroud to run by Coppers Hill where they hold the cheese rolling event, onto Leckhampton Hill overlooking the hospice itself then onto Cleeve Hill which is the highest point in the Cotswolds.

"We’ll then run to Belas Knapp, through Winchcombe to Hailes Abbey onto Stanton Hill and finally up the hill from Broadway to Broadway Tower. Some of the inclines will be tough – we might be crawling more than running. But all being well we hope to finish the run by 8pm.”   

James is already training hard to get as many miles under his belt as he can.

“I am doing a lot of training which includes a lot of hill running and long treks. But I have to manage myself.

"I suffer with two bad knees so I need to be careful. I am currently trying to do 20 to 25 miles a week.

“An ultramarathon is a hard slog and the hills can be really difficult. It’s mentally exhausting as it is physically.

"So far I have raised £500 for the hospice and I hope to raise £1,000. The thought of raising funds to help Georgie and her colleagues is what keeps me going.”

James’ girlfriend and Sue Ryder Nurse, Georgie Paul, said: “Hearing about James’ reasons for running makes me feel emotional. Without people like James raising funds for us, donating and supporting us we would not be able to run our services. We would not be able to provide people with the comfort, reassurance and quality care they need near the end of life.”

To donate to James’ Run to the Tower challenge visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JamesHands4

For more information on Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice visit www.sueryder.org/leckhampton