A SOCIALLY-distanced “Hovingham Half” has taken place to raise funds for charity.

Regular runners Will Howard, Andy Royle, Debs Hugill and Giles Naish were aiming to take part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon when it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Undeterred they decided to organise a “socially distant” “Hovingham Half” raising more than £7,000 for Marie Curie.

Friends also wanted to also support either by running or cycling the route from Hovingham to Ampleforth Abbey, and back, with carefully staggered start times in small “household bubbles” supported by a back up team providing directions, water and flapjack along the route.

Giles, one of the organisers, said: “Marie Curie nurses provided an amazing service back in 2007 when my mum was terminally ill.

“Having nurses on hand enabled her to spend her last few weeks and pass away in the family home surrounded by her family. This was incredibly important for her, and the family will always be grateful for the service and care that was provided.”

Marie Curie has been part of Deb’s family for different reasons, her mum, Jill, was a Marie Curie nurse for many years and since retirement is still a Ryedale volunteer and fundraiser.

“They offer expert care, guidance and support to people living with a terminal illness. Their nurses work night and day in people’s homes along with hospices which offer specialist care,” she said.

Fundraiser Andy said: “We are very grateful for everyone who has already sponsored us. With support from Gallagher, our corporate supporter generously offering matched funding up to £700, Gift Aid and the support of Worsley Arms, The Hovingham Bakery, Hovingham Estate and Bakehouse in the Barn, we have reached the finishing line raising over £7,000 for Marie Curie.”

Emma Williams, the Marie Curie North Yorkshire (East) community fundraiser, said: “I am blown away by the Hovingham runners’ enthusiasm and commitment to the cause. The way their fundraising story has evolved has been remarkable, overcoming the hurdles and fundraising against all odd. It has been an extremely challenging seven months for all of our nurses on the frontline, but I am so proud that they have continued to provide unwavering support to the Ryedale community who need them more than ever.”

Anyone who would still like to donate, can at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/hovinghamhalf