Family’s marathon fundraising efforts for Brain Tumour Research charity

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Erin Hamilton and Joshua Moran will join Erin's mum and stepdad in the 2024 London Marathon. Image: Brain Tumour Research

Four runners from Bedford are hosting a virtual fundraiser for Brain Tumour Research as part of their £20,000 target ahead of their London Marathon attempt next April.

There are cash prizes of £200, £250 and £300 up for grabs, with the draw taking place just days before Christmas.

Nineteen-year-old Erin Hamilton, from Bromham, and her partner Joshua Moran, 20, from Biddenham, will be running April’s TCS London Marathon for the first time in aid of the charity Brain Tumour Research.

Erin’s mum and stepdad, Hannah Hamilton and Jonathan Smith are both seasoned marathon runners, taking part in this year’s race for the charity and will be running it again next year in aid of Brain Research UK.

Hannah, 43, said: “Erin and Josh are both at university; Joshua is doing international business management at Nottingham Trent and Erin is doing biomedical science at Portsmouth and hoping to go into research, so they’re both highly motivated.

“Erin is also a type 1 diabetic so has her own medical challenges and is following a strict plan to make sure her blood sugar levels are good enough that she can continue running.”

The group’s inspiration comes from Hannah’s father, Erin’s grandfather, Russell Shreeves, a lifelong BT worker and semi-professional football player, who was diagnosed with a glioblastoma (GBM) in April 2019 after weeks of suffering with headaches.

Russell, a former Bedford Town, Rushden and Diamonds and Kempston Rovers player who served as chairman of Kempston Rovers for 20 years, underwent a craniotomy followed by six weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

He was also offered a trial drug, which he was unable to start before he died in December 2019. He was 64 years old.

Hannah with her late father Russell Shreeves and brother Robert. Image: Brain Tumour Research

Hannah said: “Dad’s tumour was in his frontal lobe so it affected his personality and moods, which was horrendous.

“We will do whatever we can to support the charities and know that raising awareness and funds is key. It would be easy to sit back and do nothing but nobody benefits from that.

“I know from my own experience how incredible the support was we got from Brain Tumour Research when dad was going through his cancer treatment.

“It not only gave us support with the fundraising events we were organising but emotional support too. This is our way of giving back.”

As part of the group’s aim to raise £20,000 – which is enough to fund more than seven days of research at one of the four Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence – they have organised a virtual number box and are selling tickets for the 150 numbers available for £10 each.

Players are in with a chance of winning cash prizes of £300, £200 and £250, with the draw expected to take place on 22 December.

Anyone wishing to take part should email hannah.hamilton1980@icloud.com.

Planning is also underway for a charity golf day being held at Bedfordshire Golf Club on 18 April. The day will consist of 18 teams, with a ‘beat the pro’ challenge and a sponsored hole for an opportunity to win a car also featuring. There will also be a silent auction in the evening, for which prizes are welcome.

Hannah, whose previous fundraisers included a race night and a dance in the barn festival event, said: “As a group, we’re aiming to raise £20,000 but hopefully we’ll get a lot more than that. We’re very fortunate to be able to run events like this and have the support to raise this kind of money. Long may it continue.”

Carol Robertson, national events manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “With one in three of us knowing someone affected by a brain tumour, Russell’s story is, sadly, not unique.

“Brain tumours kill more men under 70 than prostate cancer, more women under 35 than breast cancer and more children than leukaemia, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease since records began in 2002.

“We’re determined to change this but we can’t do it alone. We’re so grateful to Hannah, Jonathan, Erin and Joshua for their support and look forward to cheering them all across the finish line on race day. Together we will find a cure.”

To support Erin and Joshua’s fundraising at their JustGiving page here.