Parents and villagers are running for their lives this weekend to raise funds for Balcombe pre-school, Tiggers.
The fundraising drive comes on the back of the closure of several other pre-schools in the Mid Sussex area, caused primarily by funding shortages and lack of parental involvement in the management committees, which is legally required.
The Tiggers runners are tackling both these issues head on, as mum of two Louise Eldridge explains: “Training with the other Tiggers parents has created a real bond between us, strengthening our feeling of community and raising money for Tiggers in the process.”
The runners will take part in either the Brighton full marathon or the associated 10k run today (April 6).
The money raised will go towards a variety of expenses incurred by the pre-school, from new playground equipment to new resources to support children with special needs.
Tiggers manager, Sarah Manthorpe, explains: “We run as a not-for-profit organisation so we use the fees paid by the parents and/or council-funding to cover our costs, but we’re always in need of more cash so we can offer the best learning environment for our children.”
The runners have also inspired the young attendees of the pre-school as mum and committee member, Lucy Chettleburgh, continues: “The kids see the parents drop off every day in their lycra and sweatbands and they’re very interested. We’re going to hold some exercise classes for them, maybe parents can even sponsor their children!”
Paul Henderson is running the Brighton marathon for Tiggers. He started running only 15 months ago when work took him to Australia and Southern France and he discovered the joy of outdoor running.
This will be Paul’s first marathon since suffering a double knee injury last year.
Running the Brighton marathon 10k are committee members and Tiggers mums, Louise Eldridge, Lucy Chettleburgh and Charlie Tibble along with Wendy Farrant who works at Balcombe Stores and Chris Napper from Balcombe school.
The 10k runners report: “There have been many muddy runs around Balcombe village, up and down some killer hills which should make a flat run in Brighton a little easier, or at least that is what we are telling ourselves.
“We are all keen to do our bit for Tiggers so please do sponsor us – any amount will be put to good use by the Tiggers Committee and keep our spirits up on those long muddy, hilly runs!”
If you would like to donate money to support the runners please see the sponsorship links on the Tigger’s website. Any amount, even just £1, will help.
Pictured are Louise Eldridge and Lucy Chettleburgh ready to run in their training gear in front of Tiggers.