A pub bet between two competitive businessmen has resulted in a £50,000 donation to a grateful Peterborough charity.
Little Miracles , which supports families who have children with disabilities and additional needs, will now be able to offer thousands of extra counselling and bereavement sessions thanks to the generous donation.
The cheque was presented by Denis Nolan, managing director of construction firm Toureen Group, at the charity’s city base at The Spinney in Hartwell Way, Ravensthorpe.
Explaining the donation - the largest the charity has ever received - the Watford businessman said: “I completed the London Marathon in four hours two minutes. I met Trevor Diviney, MD of GCL, a competitor, at a pub and said I was doing the Dublin Marathon and that I was on schedule for three hours, 52 minutes.
“He said, ‘I bet you £20,000 you won’t do three hours 50’. I thought long and hard about it because I was struggling with 3.52, but I took it on and did 3.45. Then a couple of other competitors - we are all rivals - gave £5,000 each.”
Denis would have had to fork out £20,000 to a charity of Trevor’s choice if he had not made his time. He first became aware of Little Miracles when BBC TV programme DIY SOS reopened The Spinney in 2013 after the children’s centre had been closed by Peterborough City Council.
He said he was inspired by the charity’s chief executive Michelle King, adding: “I’ve done a few minor events for them and this was an opportunity to do something bigger.”
The charity is opening a 12th site in January. Its aim is to eventually open 30 centres and become a national charity.
Little Miracles supports nearly 5,000 children in Peterborough, and Michelle said: “For all the additional children we are supporting we are looking for businesses to support us and work with us.”
Mayor of Peterborough Cllr John Fox, the High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire, Richard Pemberton, and High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, Vinod Tailor, all spoke at the presentation. Little Miracles’ fundraising manager Michael Clarke, said “The charity couldn’t be more grateful for Denis’ support.”