Best feet foward in marathon effort

A STUDENT is preparing to run the London marathon to say thank you to the charity which has helped him overcome his deafblindness.Gavin Dean, a second year student at Suffolk College in Ipswich, has Usher syndrome - a genetic condition whereby someone is born deaf or hard of hearing with deteriorating sight.

A STUDENT is preparing to run the London marathon to say thank you to the charity which has helped him overcome his deafblindness.

Gavin Dean, a second year student at Suffolk College in Ipswich, has Usher syndrome - a genetic condition whereby someone is born deaf or hard of hearing with deteriorating sight.

In April he will set off from Greenwich with his younger brother Matthew, 20, who also has Usher syndrome. The pair will be running and raising funds for deafblind charity Sense.

"Having Usher syndrome means that our eyesight and hearing is deteriorating. That makes life hard for me and my brother," he said.

"Yet despite the difficulties we face, having Usher hasn't stopped us doing anything in life. So far my training is going well. Running the marathon is a great way of saying thanks for all the help I've received over the years from Sense.

"It's also great knowing that the money raised will help younger people like me," he added.

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Originally from Kent, where his brother still lives, Gavin is studying for a joint BSc Human Biology and Sports Science degree in Ipswich.

He has already won international caps as a goalkeeper in visually impaired football, but since then has taken up cricket and his next goal is to play in the blind and visually impaired cricket world cup in 2006. Anyone wishing to sponsor the brothers can call 020 7272 7858.

Meanwhile, Dominic Nasmyth-Miller from Ipswich, is one of almost 40,000 runners taking part in the Paris Marathon in aid of Rwanda Direct on April 4.

The charity was set up by the Revd Geoff Price, the rector of St Helen's Church, in Ipswich, and his wife Hope in 2002.

The couple worked in the Central African country for a number of years as missionaries and set up Rwanda Direct to help people cope with the aftermath of the 1994 atrocities to retain their independence.

Mr Nasmyth-Miller is a friend of the Suffolk vicar and decided to run a marathon abroad so that he could support the local cause rather than run in the London Marathon.

Mr Nasmyth-Miller, 36, a community team manager at Suffolk County Council, said: "I could have accepted a place in the London Marathon, if I agreed to run for a national charity.

"But I chose to look for a marathon further afield to enable me to run for Rwanda Direct, a charity with which I had become associated through my friendship with the Revd Geoff Price."

It will be Mr Nasmyth-Miller's first marathon and he already runs 20 miles most weekends as well as trains after work.

"Although training has been a painful challenge, I hope to clock a respectable time of about four and a half hours," he said.

"The sponsorship I've received so far from my work colleagues at social services and members of the congregations in Ipswich has been phenomenal. However I'm still looking for more support before the race."

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