Meet our LLHM Runners

Our runners have been busy preparing for the London Landmarks Half-Marathon on Sunday 3rd April 2022. You can find out a little about them (and links to support them) on this page.

Kylie Crane

Kylie dug out her running shoes and has rediscovered her love of running whilst training for the London Landmarks Half Marathon.

She is supporting Thomas’s Fund through her company Aspray Northampton – to give us more exposure as a local charity and wants to raise £1,000!

She said: “Thomas’s fund is a great cause run by amazing people but because it is such a small charity, it needs support from the immediate community. 

It doesn’t have huge exposure like the larger, well-known organisations, so that’s why I choose Thomas’s Fund. It’s a cause that’s close to my heart, so any help that I can provide to assist the great work they do, I do it wholeheartedly. If my fundraising means more families and children to benefit from music therapy, I will be very happy.”

Kylie admits training has been slow and not particularly easy, but she’s been working to improve her fitness ready for the big event. “I have old running injuries that I am very aware of and being a lot older and heavier than I was when I last ran a marathon, doesn’t make for straightforward training. I am slowly getting up to the distance and have been running with friends so I’m confident I’ll get there. I have started to love running again – it’s given me a target to aim for.”

Emma Jones

This charity is so dear to my heart, named after and inspired by my nephew Thomas, who, like his younger brother Harry, had life limiting neurodegenerative conditions.  Music therapy was so important to my nephews and I am in awe of the hard work my sister Lucy, her husband Tim and their band of amazing supporters put into setting up and running the charity, and raising funds to keep it going. I am truly honoured to be running for Thomas, in his memory.

Emma is the sister of Lucy – Thomas’s Fund’s co-founder – which makes our charity even closer to her heart. She is hoping to raise £600 by taking part in the half marathon.

“When my sister said Thomas’s Fund was short of a runner, I just couldn’t say no. She inspires me every day by what she and the rest of the team do to support children with life-limiting illnesses and life-threatening conditions. It is a privilege to be able to help.

“Thomas, who the charity is named after, was my nephew so there are personal reasons for me taking part, but I am a keen runner too. Running is a joy but fundraising doesn’t come naturally to me. This is something I am determined to overcome.

“Also, my training is done in rural southwest Wales and I don’t like crowds so the thought of running in a huge race is scarier than the distance itself. Again though, I will face my fears and raise lots of money and awareness doing it. Friends and family are backing me already which is really exciting.”

Donna Cody

Donna Cody is supporting Thomas’s Fund through her company Not Just Travel. Donna is a committed travel agent, always putting the client’s needs first. She is putting on her running shoes to help Thomas’s Fund, even though she is very busy with everyone returning to booking holidays as restrictions ease! Donna always points out that it usually costs no more, to book your holiday through a travel agent, than it does to trawl through many websites and book online! You should, also, usually find it easier to sort things if your holiday has any hitches.

Charlotte McLuskie

Charlotte has been a long-term supporter of Thomas’s Fund over the years and has known our charity’s co-founder Lucy since nursery school! She can’t wait to take part in the upcoming Landmarks Half Marathon.

“I have been involved in various fundraisers for Thomas’s Fund in the past, but it’s been quite sporadic, so I wanted to do something consistent and concrete to raise money this year for a specific family or to simply generate more awareness for the charity,” she said.

“Music reaches a deep part of all of us, but what Thomas’s Fund do to get music therapy out there and into the lives of those that need it is just incredible.

“The benefits are clear to see, not just the enjoyment, development and new ways to communicate for the child, but the mirrored enjoyment and communication it gives the wider family and staff. The therapy part of their service really does reach far so it’s a win-win.”

Charlotte says her training is going well so far with two short, one medium, and one long run a week, getting longer as we approach race day.

“I am enjoying the headspace I get while running, but I won’t be sorry to say goodbye to the early morning running in miserable winter weather once it’s over,” she admitted.

Charlotte is aiming to raise £500.

Rob Lewis

Rob met the Thomas’s Fund founders at a Northampton networking group and was immediately struck the charity’s work. He said he’s determined to get his miles up to complete the half marathon without stopping.

Rob said: “Thomas’s Fund carries out some really amazing work for children that are too unwell to attend school or nursery, and I would urge other Northamptonshire businesses to support them too.

I love how it’s a charity that has remained purposely small so that it can offer a really personal music therapy service to families in their homes, hospitals and the local community. I have got to know the founders and the more I learn about their efforts, the more I want to do as much as I can to help the disadvantaged children they work with.”

Jack Churchman

Support Jack by going to the link below and specifying Jack when donating.

Jack is taking time out from his grounds maintenance business (Cut Crew) and his other charitable missions (e.g. getting aid to Ukraine) to help Thomas’s Fund. He has supported us through his You Tube Channel ‘The Big Friendly Gardener’.

‘Tom’s Team’ – Esther, Libby, Stuart and Chris

You can support all four or ‘Tom’s Team’ through the link below:

Esther Mitchell

Esther (right) and Libby (left) pictured after their training.

Esther is a long-term and highly valued supporter of Thomas’s Fund and has been involved with the charity from the very beginning as our very first music therapist. She has been instrumental in developing our services in hospitals, early years settings, and in the community, and we’re delighted to have her as part of our London Landmarks Half Marathon team.

“Thomas’s Fund is so much more than just a job, it’s a huge part of my life. It is a wonderful charity – small enough to be flexible and reactive to change to support its service users in the best way possible, but equally, extremely supportive of its therapy team,” said Esther.

“It’s a real privilege for me getting to know the children and their parents, carers and siblings in their home and personal spaces. It’s so rewarding with huge benefits for everyone, especially during lockdown where we were able to offer something that was relatively ‘normal’ and consistent during the isolation, upheaval and hardship.”

Esther started running after her daughter passed away in 2009, and has run several marathons in her memory.  Running for a worthy cause is a huge driver, which is why she is doing it for Thomas’s Fund this year, alongside her husband and close friends.

“Being able to run for Thomas’s Fund is what keeps me motivated. The money we raise is crucial in this current climate where grant funding gets harder and harder to obtain. Every penny counts and will support ongoing projects and the potential for new pilots we are looking to explore.”

Libby Bownes

Libby had heard about Thomas’s Fund through her friend and was inspired by our work.

She has been training every week and increasing the distance by a mile each time.

Libby said: “When I heard about the amazing work that Thomas’s Fund do I wanted to get involved and show my support. Children and families need their help now more than ever, especially during Covid.

“I am fundraising as part of a team of four and our collective target is £1,500 for the charity – but we’re hoping to raise more so that the money can be used to help even more children and families in need.”

Stuart Mitchell

Stuart has always provided invaluable support to Thomas’s Fund.

‘For small charities, fundraising particularly in the current economic climate can be extremely challenging but vital in order to continue their amazing services.  I wanted to do something to support Thomas’s Fund, having seen the benefits to the children who have been able to access its services. So, when I was asked about LLHM, I gladly said yes! Not so sure now its only a few days away… should have started training earlier!’

Chris Featherstone

Chris training with his daughter

Chris Featherstone is one of our valued Thomas’s Fund trustees, bringing business knowledge and charity fundraising experience to the board. He’s helped us with fundraising in the past by riding ‘Ride London’ and is now hoping to raise £2,000 through the London Landmarks Half Marathon.

“I have seen first-hand the difference Thomas’s Fund makes and how totally dependent on fundraising and grants it is so that they can continue their music therapy,” said Chris.

“I am good friends with the lead therapist at Thomas’s Fund which was how I came to hear about the charity, but I also have a brother with special needs, so their amazing work really resonates on a personal level. The more I learnt about Thomas’s Fund, the more I was struck by the difference music therapy makes to the children and families, and what a unique service they provide. I love how they want to remain a small, local charity too, with low overheads so that any money goes directly into the personal support they provide. That strong, understanding relationship with families is what makes them unique.

Chris has teamed up with three other Thomas’s Fund runners and says he is following a training plan for the first time ever!