South Wales woman wants London Marathon support
A 35-year-old woman from Pontardawe, in South Wales, is putting her mind and body on the line in an attempt to raise much needed funds for a national children’s charity.
Michelle Walsh, is determined to succeed in her bid to complete the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, in order to generate funds for Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.
Michelle decided to run for Caudwell Children, one of the UK’s leading children’s charities, after reading about their London Marathon charity places online.
And now she’s urging the people of South Wales to sponsor her, or go one further by snapping up one the charity’s few remaining places to run alongside her.
“Running in the London Marathon has always been on my ‘Bucket List’ of things to do,” explained Michelle. “I was quite active when I was young and represented the school at long jump, but like most people I became less active after leaving school.
“However, as I got older I took up weight training and running to keep fit and lose weight, and now I’m running about 15 miles a week, which I will build up gradually before the marathon, which takes place on Sunday 26th April, 2020.”
Michelle, who is the owner of the Black Raven Tattoo Studio in Neath, is using her skills as a tattoo artist to raise funds for her challenge. As she explained: “Although I have no formal training in art I’ve always been quite good at it.
“My dad was an architect so I must get it from him, but I also did an apprenticeship as a tattooist before working at a number of studios to hone my skills.
“I’ve been a tattoo artist for 12 years, and I set up my own business two years ago, so when I took up one of Caudwell Children’s charity places I decided to use my skills to hit my fundraising target.
“I’ve created 30 designs that I’m offering at a reduced rate to members of the public who would like a tattoo, and all the money will go towards my fundraising.”
She’s distributed the designs to local businesses and retail outlets, and shared them on her social media platforms.
And with a price of £30 per hour, rather than the £60 per hour that she usually charges, she’s hoping to secure a good number of commissions.
“Running for Caudwell Children means a lot to me,” enthused Michelle. “My son has ADHD, which has left him with learning difficulties, so I appreciate the work that the charity does and the support that they give to families like mine.
“If by completing the marathon I can help other parents like me I’ll be delighted.”
This will be Michelle’s first marathon and she’s aiming to be completing 50 miles a week in the build up to the London Marathon.
Michelle, who moved from Havering, in London, to South Wales three years ago says her family are extremely supportive of her efforts. She said: “Caudwell Children has recently created a new autism service and they also provide funding for specialist equipment for disabled children, like powerchairs, buggies, car seats and sports equipment.
“They know that I relate to that so they think it’s wonderful that I’m raising funds for the charity, they’re extremely proud.”
Vicky Glanville, from Caudwell Children, says that she’s delighted by Michelle’s support. As she explained: “I have to say this is the first time that anyone has raised funds for the charity in this way! For those wishing to have a design inked on part of their anatomy the thought of raising money in the process must be quite gratifying.
“If you are in need of a tattoo why wouldn’t you pay half the price and support disabled children in the process.
“We can’t thank Michelle enough for signing up for one of our charity places and raising money in this way, and I’d encourage members of the public to support her tattoo initiative and her Just Giving page.”
The charity offers excellent fundraising support to runners in the London Marathon, allocating a dedicated fundraiser to each runner participating on behalf of the charity. They also provide runners with a Fundraising Pack which contains a selection of materials and tips that will help them in their efforts.
Participants also receive a stylish running vest with their name printed on it, enjoy a pre-race pasta party with their Caudwell Children teammates, and get to let their hair down with a celebratory post-race party with family and friends. This includes a meal and a sports massage to help relax those tense muscles after the punishing 26.2 mile run around the streets of London.
You can support Michelle through her Just Giving page here.
To find out more and to register for a charity place at the Virgin Money London Marathon, ring the Caudwell Children Events & Challenges Team on 01782 433755. You can also register for a Caudwell Children charity place online here.
Registration costs just £100 with a fundraising target of £2,500.