Mum by this time had also got back to running. She and Dad had got involved with the Muscular Dystrophy Group as I have mentioned in another blog. Dad had ended up on the National Committee and had to go down to London quite often for meetings with the boss of M.D. the President, who at that time was Richard Attenborough (yes ‘Dicky’, he used to send us Christmas cards, how good was that?) and other committee members. The OSO, who as you know was not good at sitting down decided she would raise money for the group by running marathons and getting sponsored for doing so. Over the years she ran several, including three London and one New York marathon. I remember just before she went off to do the New York marathon, she raised about £20,000 from this one alone, we as a family were invited down the the NEC for the Muscular Dystrophy Group’s ‘Commit to get Fit Campaign’ press release.
It’s a long story which I won’t bore you with, but basically the idea was that people around the country got themselves sponsored to get fit thus raising money for Muscular Dystrophy. Sally Gunnell (who was the 400 metre hurdle Olympic gold medalist) and Roger Black (Olympic 400 metre runner) were also there as ‘fit’ celebrities. We had been invited I think because we were a good family to involve because we did a lot with the group and we gave a positive image to the wider public about the various aspects of living with Muscular Dystrophy. We got to sit with Sally and Roger who were both really nice. The OSO and Sally never stopped talking to each other about horses would you believe!
Anyway; at this press release the Chairman stood up and told all the press about the Campaign and how it worked, it was big, it was a national campaign so the group were hoping to raise lots of money from it. Then Sally Gunnell stood up and talked about how keen she was to support the Campaign and then Mum was invited to stand up and say how important it was to raise money to help families and raise money for research.
I could have told them that was not a good idea, give the OSO a stage and she’s off!! To be fair she started well and said all the right things, but then she went onto say that she wanted to show that families didn’t just receive money from others, but also raised money themselves to help the Group. ‘ Indeed’ she said she was just going off to run the New York marathon, THEN she said she had considered asking Sally Gunnell and Roger Black to go with her, but she was afraid that they wouldn’t be able to cope with the distance as Roger only ran 400 metres round a track and he was exhausted; and Sally, granted she jumped a few little hurdles on the way round the 400 metre track, but the she too collapsed, so the OSO was worried that they wouldn’t be able to keep up with her! I ask you!
To be fair, it did raise a great laugh from the press audience and Sally and Roger seemed to take it very well. (it’s funny, but it never clicked until I wrote this blog that it’s strange that Sally Gunnell and Roger Black have the same names as one of my bros and my Mum) Well there you go.
Still the evening went well and the OSO did do the marathon and raise loads of money and she and Sally kept in contact for quite a while after that. So in the end, it all went very well and it did keep the OSO out of our hair for a while whilst she was in America!