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Run from Land's End to John O' Groats expected to raise £20,000 for Down Syndrome charities

By Gordon Calder

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A RUN from Land's End to John O' Groats is expected to raise £20,000 for two charities.

The RunAcross UK was organised by Iris Hammond, a 20-year-old student, who was inspired to take on the challenge by her 12-year-old sister, Nancy, who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome shortly after her birth.

Iris has spent the last year organising the event while studying law and business at the University of the West of England in Bristol and working as a waitress.

More than 64 runners from across the country, including Lorna Stanger from Caithness, are taking part in the run which started on Thursday (March 21) to coincide with World Down Syndrome Day. It is due to finish at John O' Groats on April 3.

Iris ran the first mile with Nancy from Land's End and will also run from Wick railway station to John O'Groats.

Her parents Anna and Ralph, who live with Nancy in Taunton in Somerset, are also taking part – Anna in Cornwall and Ralph from Brora to Helmsdale.

Iris Hammond (left) with her sister Nancy who inspired her to organise the run
Iris Hammond (left) with her sister Nancy who inspired her to organise the run

Iris' original target was to raise £10,000 for Down's Syndrome Scotland and the Down's Syndrome Association but this was quickly surpassed as donations poured in as word of the event spread through family, friends and through social media.

The total just before the start of the run was £16,000 and with a further £3000 to add from Gift Aid, the final figure looks set to top £20,000.

Iris said: "My little sister, Nancy, has inspired me to organise this charity event in aid of two wonderful charities. Seeing the world through Nancy’s eyes is one of the most beautiful parts of my life, she has taught me patience, kindness and unconditional love. She is my biggest blessing."

She added: "We have already raised £16,000 but are now hoping to hit £20,000 now."

Lorna Stanger, who has undertaken a number of fundraising runs herself, said the event would unite runners across the UK and she described the amount of money already raised as "amazing".

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