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More than 100 people take part in the Mad Dash for RUH

More than 100 people ran, walked and toddled their way across the finish line to help raise money for new cancer equipment at the Royal United Hospital.

People of all ages took part in The Mad Dash this morning at Bath Spa University to show their support for the Forever Friends Appeal.

Now the appeal has reached its target for the new neo-natal intensive care unit for premature babies, it has set its sights on raising £650,000 for a new gamma CT scanner.

People could run a 10k or 2k route around the university’s grounds, or have a go at the 200m toddle for some of the younger supporters.

Ann Jackson, from Oldfield Park, was there to watch her son-in-law Darren Savery in the 10k race and had gone along with her two granddaughters Georgia and Libby, who are nearly two, and her four-year-old grandson Mason.

She said: “He had his twins born there so he likes to help out and raise money for the hospital. They do a lot of good work there.”

It was a family affair for her friend Sandra Day, who was taking part in the toddle with her mother, 87-year-old Olive Lane and four-year-old grandson Freddie.

She said: “Freddie was cared for at the NICU and we have had family members die of cancer so we always support the RUH. It is a worthy cause.”

She was also at the race watching her daughters Andrea and Nicky take part in the 10k and son-in-laws Steve and Rob complete the 2k with her seven-year-old grandson Jack.

Ted and Ann Smith had gone along to support the RUH because their granddaughter Madeleine Offler, now four, was cared for in the NICU when she was born.

Mr Smith said: “She spent a lot of time in intensive care because she had a lot of problems, but you wouldn’t know it now to look at her.”

Mrs Smith added: “They did a fantastic job for her.”

The family, who live in Peasedown St John, were there watching 12-year-old Isabel complete the 2k race.

Sue Wheatley, from Longwell Green, was there cheering on her two sons Steve and Dave, who were taking part in the 10k run.

She said: “The family have had a lot of involvement in the work of the RUH. I think it is really good that people are prepared to do this to help raise the money.

“They obviously need this equipment and they need this support.”

One of those running in the race was Martin Evans, who is the head of nuclear medicine at the RUH.

He took part in the 2k stretch with his 10-year-old son Tom and eight-year-old daughter Kate.

He will see first hand the good work the gamma scanner will do for patients and said: “It is not our scanner, it is not really the RUH’s scanner, it is a scanner for the people of Bath and the surrounding area.

“It will allow us to provide better care for the people we serve.”

Bath MP Don Foster started the races and stayed throughout the event to cheer on the runners as they completed the track and crossed the finish line.

He said the charity was something very close to the hearts of the people of Bath and that they always turned out in force to support it whenever they could.

He said: “I have done what I can to support the Forever Friends Appeal ever since it started and there are so many people that put in so much effort and time, on a volunteer basis, to help raise money.

“It is absolutely fantastic, the work people do, and we are now working towards the new target of £650,000 for the scanner for the cancer unit.”

Event organiser Jo Hones, from the Forever Friends, said she was happy that so many people had turned out for the Mad Dash, with around 120 runners and walkers taking part.

She said: “We are really, really pleased with the support. We had so much support for the NICU campaign and now so many of our supporters have continued to fundraise for the cancer care campaign.

“The catchment area of the RUH is around 500,000 people, so if you are lucky enough not to have needed the hospital, you will probably still have friends, family or colleagues who have.”

The 10k race was won by Gareth Benjamin, with a time of 39min 14sec, followed by Nick Towens and Naomi Webber.

The 2k race was won by Theo Alvis, with a time of 8min 01sec, followed by Louis Gillow and Keith Brewis.

The next Forever Friends event will be Ted’s Big Day Out, with a flower power theme, on Friday, October 14, and for more information go to www.tedsbigdayout.co.uk.