IT’S just seven months till Hannah and Chris Jones take to the streets of Chester for the city’s annual marathon – and the North Wales couple are already in the running to raise hundreds of pounds for two very personal charities, with help from homebuilder Redrow.
Redrow has pledged £250 sponsorship to be shared between Tommy’s charity, which funds research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature death, and Westend Dance Academy close to their home at Goetre Uchaf in Bangor.
“We are really grateful for all the support and we are delighted to say that training for the marathon is going well, in spite of a slight gap over Christmas when we moved from our ‘old’ Redrow home to our new, bigger one on the same development,” says Hannah.
“We have done half-marathons and a metric marathon, which is 16.4 miles, so we are confident we can do it. We’ve got lots of support and whenever the going gets tough we think back to losing our premature twins and remind ourselves that nothing will ever be as hard as getting through that.”
Hannah, 36, a cardiac clinical physiologist, and automotive engineer Chris, 38, decided to raise money for Tommy’s after losing their first-born sons Jensen and Logan in 2009, when they were born early at 23 weeks. They ran a 5k soon after their funeral but pledged they would do more.
They have kept that vow, especially after having three healthy boys – Riley, eight, Henry, six, and Ozzy, four – and they’ve been joined by Hannah’s brothers, James and Stephen Jeffries; Stephen’s wife, Sarah, and Hannah’s sister and brother-in-law, Juliet and Benn Berrigan.
“It’s great to have a gang running,” adds Hannah. “Chris and I have been so well supported after we lost our little boys and it’s continued to the marathon.
“We are lucky too that family help out when we need to train, and Chris and I take turns freeing each other up to get out and practice. I tend to run in the evenings while Chris manages to get out for 6am runs, and we try to run at least three times a week, while not taking time away from the boys and their activities.
“The metric marathon in Chester last year was a great practice run – although it is quite hard when you get to the cobbles next to the River Dee, and your hips start screaming.
“But, like I said, losing twins made us realise that nothing could ever be as difficult again – and that’s our ethos for life.”
The couple, who have swapped a Redrow Stratford style home at Goetre Uchaf for a slightly larger four-bedroom Oxford to accommodate their growing brood, also chose Westend Dance Academy to benefit from their fund-raising because each of their sons had flourished and gained confidence there and “because we wanted to do something that gives back to the community”.
“Any money we get will go towards our annual dance show,” says Natalie Robb from Westend Dance Academy (formerly Gwynedd School of Dance). “It’s very costly to put on and we are grateful for any donations.”
Redrow recently sold the very last house at Goetre Uchaf, where Hannah and Chris live, but has just launched Millstone View in Penymynydd, Flintshire.
Jason Newton, sales director for Redrow Homes (NW), praised the couple and their family for their determined efforts and said Redrow was thrilled to offer support to two of its valued customers.
“Their ethos of doing things for others and giving back to the community is one we share. We’ve always said that Redrow doesn’t just build houses, it creates and strengthens communities by contributing to those areas and supporting them.
“Hannah and Chris had such an awful experience but have turned it around to create something positive out of it, and so we applaud them and are more than delighted to offer our support,” Jason added.
Hannah and Chris will take part in the Chester Marathon on October 6, a little over 10 years since they lost their sons. They have set up a justgiving page for Tommy’s and anyone wishing to support can pledge money at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hannahjones04062009.
To support the dance school, send a cheque made payable to Westend Academy to Westend Dance Academy, 39 Farrar Road, Bangor LL57 1LJ.
Image Caption: Hannah and Chris Jones meet pupils Katie Davies, Alannah Kay and Bradley Jones of Westend Academy who their marathon fund raising will help