Get set for Family Festival of Running
A YATE man who decided to raise money for a children's hospice instead of staging his 40th birthday party is encouraging families to join his fundraising drive.
Since hitting 40 two years ago, Paul Dennett has raised more than £15,000 for Children's Hospice South West – and wants to double that figure this year.
Paul is the brains behind Active Soul Running Club, which is based in Mangotsfield, as well as the Family Festival of Running, both of which raise money for the hospice.
The father-of-three is hoping families will turn up in force to support his second festival which will take place at Pomphrey Hill in Mangotsfield on April 13 from 9am to 2pm.
Featuring races for all members of the family, from toddlers to adults, it will be combined with a fun day with bouncy castle, music, refreshments and a visit from a fire crew.
Paul said: “It's a great way to get everyone involved – there's something for everyone and families can take it in turns to cheer each other on. Everyone gets a medal and adults who complete the 10K will also get a free drink in the bar afterwards.
“We just want to make it a really fun day. It's going to be great.”
Paul, a fire safety instructor who recently moved to Yate after living in Downend, said he made the decision to 'give something back' as his 40th loomed.
He said: “I phoned a friend and told him I wasn't going to have a party for my birthday and instead I wanted to try to raise as much money as possible for a charity. I asked him which charity had helped him in the past and he said Children's Hospice South West as he'd fostered a child with a life-limiting illness. I decided then and there to make the hospice my chosen charity.”
Paul then set about establishing Active Soul UK Running Club which meets from 7-8pm every Thursday at the running track at Mangotsfield School. Runners pay £3 for each session which goes directly to the hospice.
Last year the money was supplemented from the proceeds of Paul's first Family Festival of Running, raising an impressive total of £3,330.
The father-of three, along with two friends, Phill Edwards from Coalpit Heath and Marc Thomas of Downend, marked his landmark birthday in 2017 with a gruelling ultra triathlon – a six mile swim and a 90-mile bike ride on the Friday, a 171 mile bike ride on the Saturday and a double marathon of 52 miles on the Sunday. The event raised £12,538 for the hospice.
He said: “I've done a lot of fundraising for the hospice over the past few years and have been to their open days. It's such an amazing cause that I don't want to stop.”
As well as the festival and the running evenings, Paul is planning a huge challenge for 2019, which he has dubbed the 'Brutal Three Peaks'.
He wants to raise a total of £12,000 this year to bring his total for the hospice to £30,000 within three years.
Picture: Paul Dennett (far right), Phill Edwards and Marc Thomas hope to beat last year’s total of £12,538 this year