Organist prepares for marathon bid

BEST known for his musical prowess, the organist at Suffolk's cathedral is preparing for an altogether new challenge.James Thomas, organist and music director at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds for the past 13 years, took up running on doctor's orders to lose weight.

Will Clarke

BEST known for his musical prowess, the organist at Suffolk's cathedral is preparing for an altogether new challenge.

James Thomas, organist and music director at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds for the past 13 years, took up running on doctor's orders to lose weight.

Now, the musician, who also leads the cathedral choir, has signed up to run the London Marathon as part of the Bury-based St Nicholas Hospice fundraising team, which means he must raise at least �1,500.

The 45-year-old father of three believes he is up to the physical and fundraising challenge and training is going well.

“I started running about 18months ago - I needed to lose weight,” he said.

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“I used to run when I was much younger but not very seriously and I have got the bug again.

“When I thought about doing the London Marathon - I thought why not? It's a challenge.

“I contacted a few charities to see if they had space on their teams but they were all over-subscribed. Then on a whim I contacted St Nicholas and they said they had a space because someone had dropped out so I signed on the dotted line.

“I have to raise �1,500, which is a lot of money but I am fairly confident because I am well known through my work in the cathedral, in the congregation and the choir.

“I also think the hospice does some wonderful work - almost everyone knows somebody who has benefited from their ministry.

“I am not the first cathedral organist to run the London Marathon but I am the only one this year.

“It is novel but I am serious and I hope to complete it in three-and-a-half hours or less.”

Anyone wishing to sponsor Mr Thomas can call the Cathedral Office on 01284 748720 between 9am and 2pm Monday to Friday or donate online at www.justgiving.com/jamesthomas1.