Yes I can: specialist care facility competes in Great North Run

6 September 2016

Disabled residents, from a specialist care facility in Newcastle, will take part in the Great North Run, alongside army recruits, staff and volunteers, in the hope of raising vital funds to improve their lives.

Stella Charlton, who lives at the Bradbury Wing care home in Jesmond, run by the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, completed her first Great North Run in 2014, supported by Eni and Kelly Plenderleith.

Fellow resident Karen Richardson, is also taking part and hoping for unexpected celebrity encounters.

Karen has been supported by Karl Barkley for the past five years, where they have competitively run the race.

Last year they were both joined by former heavyweight boxer Frank Bruno, who assisted for a good part of the race.

Service manager Eni Plenderleith, who has completed the GNR three times, said:

‘For most people they would never have dreamed of competing in the world’s greatest half marathon.

‘It is a great occasion for all of us here at Leonard Cheshire.’

Eni knows the funds raised will make a big difference to people’s lives at both Bradbury Wing and at The Minories.

She added:

‘Every penny raised will help us with our goal — giving people the chance to lead an enriched and fulfilled life.

‘In the past we have been on excellent trips like The Polar Express train — a Christmas steam train experience.

‘We need all the help we can get, to fundraise for everyone we support.’

Stepping out alongside Stella and Karen will be Ed Matthews, who lives at a Northumbria supported living service, also run by Leonard Cheshire.

Joining the trio will be a host of supporters — including Eni’s nephews, six-time race veteran Karl Barkley and Corporal Michael Barkley, serving in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).

Michael will run with fellow army pals, Sophie Fitzwarren and Mark Jackson, plus a team of dedicated Leonard Cheshire staff and volunteers.

Also eager to cross the finish line is Newcastle resident Fiona King, who spent several years mentoring people at The Minories Day Service Unit and Leonard Cheshire services throughout the north east.

Fiona said:

‘I’ve always wanted to do the Great North Run.

‘I want to get fitter and raise money for great local services and give something back.

‘Hopefully the money will help people to get out and about and have fun.’

If you would like to find out more or make a donation please visit the runners' Just Giving page.

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