On a bright and sunny VE day morning, when many residents of Croxley were just beginning to roll out the bunting and balloons, 38 walkers, runners and cyclists were preparing for a virtual event to mark the anniversary in a special way.
Friday, May 8, should have been the Watford Mencap 10k run, an event which normally raises £20,000 for the charity.
With lockdown in force the charity event was cancelled and Chris Llloyd, local councillor for Croxley Green, decided to do something to make up some of the shortfall.
Cllr Lloyd enlisted the support of 15 runners to cover 75K – one kilometre for each year that has passed since VE day – to participate in a virtual ultra-marathon and asked each to raise a few pounds for Mencap.
20 walkers and three cyclists participated, each group linked to a runner and setting out at the same time as the baton was passed virtually to their group.
At the time of going to print the group has raised an amazing £1,600 for the charity.
Cllr. Chris Lloyd said, “I am a social runner; I have missed being able to run with friends. The virtual ultra-marathon enabled us to be connected and encourage each other. I would like to thank everyone who has supported the work of Watford Mencap. I would like to encourage to support Watford Mencap. If everyone who read this sponsored us £5 we could raise over£2,000”
Carol Tunstall, fundraising organiser at Mencap, said, “We’re so grateful to Chris and his friends for raising funds that allow us to continue to support local people with a learning disability, one of the most vulnerable groups in our local community. We are continuing to keep the people living in our eight residential projects safe, healthy and busy as well as supporting around 800 people living in the community. Fundraisers like Chris help us to continue this vital work”.
On the afternoon of May 8, Chris made a trip to the home of each participant, rang the bell and stood back.
Runners were surprised and delighted to find a special VE day medal on their doorstep, kindly donated by Watford Mencap from the medals already prepared for the 10K.
Participant Claire Casselton said: “Participating in the event was lots of fun. When I mentioned to friends and family why we were doing it many donated spontaneously without prompting. Receiving the medal was very special – this is a seriously limited edition and will be a lovely reminder of a wonderful day.”