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Leamington workers smash fundraising target

From left, Jason Strain, Dave Stokes, Lianne Kirkman, Aaron Greaves (Heart of England Community Foundation), Ian Chetwynd and Anthony Baynham

A group of Leamington colleagues have smashed their fundraising target to raise money for a drop-in centre for vulnerable people in the town.

More than £2,500 has been raised by Harrison Beale & Owen (HB&O) Financial Services employees Jason Strain, Anthony Baynham and Ian Chetwynd, along with Dave Stokes.

The quartet had hoped to raise £2,000 by taking on both the Vienna City Full Marathon and Vienna City Half Marathon, but they have finished well ahead of the target with donations pouring in from family, friends and clients.

All of the proceeds are going to local charity Helping Hands via HB&O Financial Services’ official charity partner the Heart of England Community Foundation (HOECF).

Helping Hands provide practical support and care to those needing help within the communities of Kenilworth, Leamington Spa and Warwick – this includes families on low income, domestic abuse victims and homelessness.

The money will go towards the upkeep and running of the Helping Hands Drop In Centre on Gloucester Street, which incorporates a charity shop to generate funds as well as a popular soup kitchen to provide refuge.

One of the fundraisers Jason Strain, managing director at HB&O Financial Services, recorded his personal best in the full marathon – completing the 26.2 mile trek in three hours and 48 minutes.

He said: “All of the fundraisers are over the moon with how much we’ve raised as we know how much of a difference this will make to the local community.

“We live and work in this area so we want to help the community where we can, and hopefully this money can go a long way to giving Helping Hands further ability to provide shelter, food and advice for those that need it most.

“I was carrying a foot injury during the marathon, so to beat my personal best was great personally, but knowing that we’ve beaten our fundraising target by miles is even better.”

Jason was followed by Dave Stokes in the full marathon who finished in five hours and 25 minutes while Anthony Baynham, who was competing in his 17th full marathon, finished in five hours and 50 minutes.

Half marathon debutant Ian Chetwynd crossed the finish line in two hours and 55 minutes.

Lianne Kirkman, operations manager at Helping Hands, added: “So far this year HB&O has donated around £5,000 towards our work in the local community, which is simply fantastic.

“We rely on donations, and over the past six months 1,238 people have been supported through the various projects ran through Helping Hands, which shows just how valuable the service is.”

Tina Costello is chief executive at the Heart of England Community Foundation, which gives grants to support community projects across Coventry, Warwickshire, Solihull, Birmingham and the Black Country.

She said: “Well done to all of the fundraisers who have helped support this fantastic cause.

“Hopefully this will inspire others to follow in their footsteps and make a difference in their own communities.”

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