Search

Runner set for ‘virtual London marathon’ for love of three-year-old Sienna

PUBLISHED: 19:00 09 September 2020

Stuart Service, centre, training for his virtual London marathon around Hadleigh, with two of those who will run a mile with him, Will Petersen, trustee of the Bumblebee Childrens Charity, and Stuart's sister Helen Seeley Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Stuart Service, centre, training for his virtual London marathon around Hadleigh, with two of those who will run a mile with him, Will Petersen, trustee of the Bumblebee Childrens Charity, and Stuart's sister Helen Seeley Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Runner Stuart Service is preparing for a “virtual London marathon” through Hadleigh, for the love of his three-and-a-half-year-old great-niece.

Marathon runner Stuart Service with great-niece Sienna Seeley Picture: JACK AND LINDSEY SEELEYMarathon runner Stuart Service with great-niece Sienna Seeley Picture: JACK AND LINDSEY SEELEY

Mr Service had been training to run the London Marathon in aid of two charities which helped Sienna Seeley, from Walsham le Willows, who was born with a rare heart condition.

When this year’s event was cancelled due to coronavirus, except for elite runners, entrants were given the opportunity to run a “virtual marathon” instead.

The 53-year-old, who runs The Gables bed and breakfast, has decided to run 26 miles around his home town on October 3.

“I will be joined by 26 brave friends and family members who are each going to run one of the 26 miles with me,” he said.

Stuart Service is going to run a virtual marathon in aid of the Bumblebee Children's Charity and the Evelina Children's Hospital Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNStuart Service is going to run a virtual marathon in aid of the Bumblebee Children's Charity and the Evelina Children's Hospital Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“I am doing it to raise money for two very deserving causes which have helped Sienna, the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London and the Bumblebee Children’s Charity in Suffolk,” Mr Service said.

Mr Service has run the London Marathon over the last three years and raised nearly £30,000 for good causes.

MORE: Izzie has half a metre of hair cut off to help two good causes

He said: “It’s a shame the marathon can’t go ahead this year, but with everything else that’s happening there are much bigger issues,”

You may also want to watch:

“Sienna was born with a very rare heart condition called ALCAPA. This condition meant only half of her heart was receiving oxygen,” Mr Service said.

“The Evelina Children’s Hospital saved her life by giving her open heart surgery at three weeks old, when her heart was only functioning at 10%.

“She would not be here without the phenomenal treatment she received. The Evelina not only took care of Sienna but supported the whole family, in particular her parents Lindsey and Jack.”.

MORE: Runner’s fancy-dress marathon in her garden

Sienna now attends the Bumblebee Children’s Charity, based in Sproughton, near Ipswich, to help with her developmental delay.

Sienna Seeley, aged three and a half, from Walsham le Willows Picture: JACK SEELEYSienna Seeley, aged three and a half, from Walsham le Willows Picture: JACK SEELEY

Bumblebee is a specialist group that helps children with physical difficulties learn important life skills in a fun and stimulating environment.

Mr Service said: “As a result of attending Bumblebee, Sienna has grown in independence and confidence and she is making progress learning to walk unaided.”

Among those who will be joining him on the run are his sister, Helen Seeley, Sienna’s grandma, and Will Petersen, a Bumblebee trustee.

Mr Petersen said: “Bumblebee is entirely privately funded, so any support is greatly appreciated, and Stuart has been a great supporter of Bumblebee.”

Stuart Service is going to be running his own virtual London marathon around Hadleigh with 26 of his friends to raise money for the Bumblebee Children's Charity.L-R Will Petersen (Trustee of the Bumblebee Childrens Charity), Stuart Service and his sister Helen Seeley Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNStuart Service is going to be running his own virtual London marathon around Hadleigh with 26 of his friends to raise money for the Bumblebee Children's Charity.L-R Will Petersen (Trustee of the Bumblebee Childrens Charity), Stuart Service and his sister Helen Seeley Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

To donate, visit Mr Service’s JustGiving page.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East Anglian Daily Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times