Opinion: ‘Running for an amazing place...’

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow writes his regular column for the Peterborough Telegraph

Sunday, 14th March 2021, 5:00 am
Thorpe Hall Hospice

I often say that being the MP for Peterborough is the best job I’ll ever have. It’s true. Being a Member of Parliament is great, but representing my city, where I grew up, is special.

I know our strengths.

That’s why I’m so keen for people to be positive about our city and its future. We have huge potential.

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We also care. We care in both senses: our pride in Peterborough, but also our care and love for each other. This care typified our response to the pandemic.

There’s no bigger example of how Peterborough cares than Thorpe Hall, the Sue Ryder hospice on Thorpe Road. When I visited it for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew there would be love, but how could there not be sadness?

Obviously, there are tears at any hospice, but I was amazed to hear so many laughs as well.

It’s a wonderful place, with amazing staff and volunteers. It has a special place in local hearts, as years of fundraising prove.

The hospice gets some taxpayers money, but needs these local fundraising efforts and events to function. Like much else, normal fundraising simply isn’t possible during COVID-19.

I was so pleased when the Government stepped up and provided extra funding to help them. Yet, inevitably, temporary funding is only a temporary solution.

This was already on my mind when my Parliamentary colleague and friend, Guy Opperman MP, nominated me to take part in the 10for10 Challenge. How could I refuse?

This month and next, I’m running 10K ten times to help raise money. That’s 100 kilometres altogether, so around 62 miles. And although there are many deserving charities here in Peterborough, my runs are dedicated to Thorpe Hall.

Having accepted Guy’s challenge, I realised that I hadn’t run a 10K for eight years.

My status as an athlete was never secure. For all that, my day dreams of playing premiership football only recently subsided. (Stanley Matthews played into his 50s!)

Lockdown exercise got me into some kind of shape. The 10for10 Challenge has become the next phase of the battle with my bulge.

My first 10K was on Monday. The result was not a pretty sight, I admit. Yet sweat won’t stop me, blisters won’t block me, and the stares of onlookers as I gasp around West Town are good for inspiration.

We all know someone who needs – or might need – to rely on Thorpe Hall. My own father was almost in that position when he succumbed to his brain tumour. It’s worth the effort.

Because of the generosity of local people, I’m nearly at my £500 target already. With nine runs to go, I’m doubling the target to £1,000.

If money is tight, this doesn’t apply to you, but I know that other readers may be able to manage a donation.

If you’re able to spare something, please consider helping the cause at my Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-bristow13

Alternatively, and better still, create your own challenge. It doesn’t need to involve running shoes. Any decimally-based activity x10 will do.

The background and sign up page for the challenge can be found here: https://10for10.uk

And if you see me pounding along, puffing and panting, please give me a thumbs up!