Tag Archives: fundraising

“Christmas can be one of the most difficult times for families”

Jackie O’Kelly has been a Scope Information and Support worker in the midlands for the last 20 years, supporting thousands of disabled people and families with advice and information. 

Christmas can be an especially hard time for disabled children and their families. Here, Jackie tells us how her invaluable advice made a life-changing difference to Jenny and her son Harry, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy just weeks before Christmas. 

Thousands of families are expected to turn to Scope for support this Christmas. You can help make sure every family who contacts us receives the support they need by donating the Light up Christmas Appeal.

Two years ago a mum called Jenny got in touch with our Scope helpline as her young son Harry had just been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Obviously this was a worrying time for Jenny and her family. They had not been given any information to help them understand cerebral palsy, which is hugely complex, or how Harry might be affected in the future.

Jenny had a lot of questions and no idea what help the family might need to support Harry at home and at school, or how to go about getting this.

Jenny was finding it quite hard to explain Harry’s difficulties to other people and make them aware of the help that he needed.

How I worked with the family

I explained to Jenny about Harry’s cerebral palsy in the simplest of terms. I also sent her some information so she could keep re-reading it until she got a better understanding of his difficulties.

I also thought she could show this information to other people if they too were struggling to understand his cerebral palsy, such as teachers at his school and other family members.

We ended up talking about all sorts of other things that might be helpful to Harry, for example information on useful events that were coming up local to her.

Jackie, smiling for the cameraThe difficulties parents face

It is so difficult for parents of children like Harry to get this type of information, especially if their child goes to a mainstream school.

As a result many parents like Jenny end up feeling isolated and unsupported. Often they miss out on vital sources of help and support that could have made their lives and their child’s life so much easier.

If ever I now see something that might be of help to Harry or his family I always try to send it Jenny’s way. As with most other parents their journey is ongoing and different needs and issues will undoubtedly crop up along the way.

My work continues

Because of all of the recent changes to social care that have affected disabled people, I am receiving more and more requests from people who are often quite desperate about their situations.

They simply do not know where to go for help, as many local advice agencies who have been badly hit by the cuts have been closed.

I am currently supporting around 30 disabled people and families, with the numbers increasing all the time.

Christmas for disabled families

Christmas can be one of the most difficult times of year for disabled people and their families.

There is the sheer expense of it all as bills are at their highest. Also a lot of services quite simply shut down over this period, or run services that are so thin on the ground that all but the most urgent of cases can be dealt with.

I have seen this happen year on year and the stress it can create in families is enormous.

Thousands of families are expected to turn to Scope for support this Christmas, which is why we’re asking you to donate to our Light up Christmas appeal. With your help we can be there for every family who contacts us.

Worried about writing your will? It’s easier than you might think

Making a will can seem like a daunting prospect. But Rachel, our Gifts in Wills Officer, found out that with our free will writing service it can be easier than you think.

Why am I writing my will? I’m not getting married or divorced, I don’t have any children and at 27, I’m not planning my retirement any time soon.

I’m writing my will because I want to know what it’s really like. Unless you’ve ever written a will, chances are you probably don’t know very much about the process. It might seem intimidating, morbid or just a bit of a hassle. Even if you’ve thought about it, it’s easy to push it down the to-do list. Is having a will that important anyway? Well, the short answer is yes. Without one, you don’t have a say in what happens to your possessions, and more importantly, what you’d like to pass on to your loved ones. Having a will puts you in control. And yet more than half of British adults haven’t made one. So is it really that difficult? I wanted to find out.

Arranging to write my will was easy. Through Scope’s free will service, I was put in contact with my local will writer, and organised to meet him near my office. I guessed I’d need to do some preparation for the meeting, and I was sent a pre-appointment check-list which explained the different areas I should be thinking about.

Writing a will does involve decision making and, depending on your circumstances, some of these decisions might involve more thought than others. But some people still put off writing a will even after they’ve made these decisions, because they think it will be complicated, expensive, or they just don’t know where to start.

Actually writing my will was the easiest bit of all. At our meeting, my will writer talked me through the main sections of the will – from appointing executors, to the specific gifts I want to leave, including to charity. I already knew I wanted to leave a gift to Scope. If I hadn’t mentioned it, I’d have been asked if I wanted to consider it – although there is no obligation. I like the idea that I can help Scope to be there for disabled people and their families in the future.

And that’s all I have to do. Once he has all the information, my will writer goes away to write up my will. I’ll check it and then sign it in front of two witnesses. I’ll have a will.

Of course, I might need to change it at some point in the future – it’s always a good idea to review your will around any major life changes. But now I know what I’m doing – I know what decisions I need to make, and I know that actually putting them down on paper isn’t difficult. It’s something I’m really glad I’ve done.

Find out more about our free will offer.

Disabled people aren’t delicate! Why we’re getting fit this #Steptember

Guest post from Kris Saunders-Stowe of Wheely Good Fitness, who runs exercise classes for both disabled and non-disabled people in Herefordshire. He’s helping us promote Steptember, the fun fitness challenge where you can raise money for Scope.DSC_0153

For some people exercise is a dirty word, conjuring up images of sweaty, unfriendly gyms, intimidating perfect physiques and lots of hard work, sweat and tears. This can be true! However, it’s just one side of the fitness world, and not at all reflective of what it’s all about.

Every movement we perform in daily life, from carrying shopping and lifting a wheelchair into the car to opening a door or cleaning our teeth, is exercise.

And the definition of success is different for every person – one person’s desire to lift a 40kg dumb-bell is just as valid as another person’s desire to lift and hold their cup of morning coffee.

Step away from the stereotyped image of exercise, and you see that it’s about looking after your body to ensure that it is healthy and able to support you in your daily life.

Disability and fitness

Disability and exercise aren’t usually seen as going hand in hand. Yet for disabled people, getting the right exercise is all-important – otherwise, you’ll lose strength and flexibility and become less and less active.Wheelchair fitness class taking place

Another reason for the negativity around exercise and disability is one forced upon us by society. Disabled people are delicate, we should be careful, we’re not allowed to do this and that. Health and safety!

We only have to look at Paralympics to see that that’s not true. But lots of disabled people can relate to being turned away from a gym. Or they’re only allowed to take part in an over-70s class or similar (which is silly in itself – older people resent being pigeon-holed by their years rather than their abilities!).

At Wheely Good Fitness, we like to challenge these preconceptions by running modern, proactive and high energy classes for people of varying abilities.

We do this because there’s a severe lack of suitable multi-ability classes out there – classes where disabled people actively take part with the group and have the same experience as the rest. There is a huge need for leisure facilities to start making disability fitness an integral part of their programmes.

Get involved

Whether you’re disabled or not, we’re all the same – our muscles need maintaining, our hearts need looking after, our minds need challenging and our weight managing. I want to encourage more people to take part in exercise on any level, and that’s why I and some of my clients are supporting Steptember.

Man lifting weights while sitting in a wheelchair, another man with a prosthetic leg behind him
Kris with disabled model Jack Eyres, who’s also supporting Steptember

This month of activity is about increasing the amount of physical activity you do, in whatever way you prefer, whilst also raising money for Scope. You might want to take 10,000 steps a day, or the equivalent using a wheelchair, but there are dozens of other activities that also count.

We’re also releasing our first ever Wheel-Fit home exercise DVD for Steptember, with £1 from every copy sold going to Scope.

Remember, we all have something we can do to get fit – and we can all improve our abilities, mood, energy levels and fitness through exercise. Whether you’re lifting dumbbells or tins of beans, doing a marathon or wheeling to your front door and back, it all makes a difference!

Sign up for Steptember to get fit this autumn – and raise money for Scope! You can do it alone or with friends or colleagues.

Walking for wellbeing

In September we’re encouraging people to get active and take part in our Steptember event! The event may be called Steptember, but walking isn’t the only way to reach your daily step count. You can run, wheel, cycle, swim or even dance your way to glory. If you use a wheelchair, here’s some inspiration for you.

Guest post from Bonnie Friend, writer for Walk magazine

There is an awful lot in the news at the moment on the power of walking for improved health. It’s a great way to lose weight, gentle on the joints, and gets you out into the fresh air.

What is sometimes overlooked though is the impact that it can have on psychological wellbeing, and speaking to members of the Ramblers and Disabled Ramblers, the potency of that becomes a striking reality.

Walk magazine spoke to one lady who was able to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder through walking and a man who, after 20 years suffering with depression, declared that the best antidote he has found is to garner the courage to head out for a stroll along the Pennine Way.

It is not to say that walking is going to be the complete answer to every problem, but in a world where we struggle to find solutions to complex issues, it is reassuring to know that something as simple as a walk can provide untold comfort.

Where this becomes a whole lot trickier however, is where mobility poses an extra obstacle, and this is what the people at Disabled Ramblers have been working tirelessly to rectify.

There are thousands of miles of tracks and footpaths around the UK, and only a fraction of them are currently as accessible as they could be. Predominantly in national parks such as the Malvern Hills.

John Cuthbertson, Director of Disabled Ramblers is passionate about initiatives that look to remove or find alternatives to manmade barriers such as steps, stiles and gates that limit accessibility for anyone with a disability.

Another part of their work sees the categorization of walking routes for their accessibility level, and the organization of around 50 nationwide group walks each year. They have a number of specialised mobility scooters (Trampers) available to borrow and group walks see around 20-30 people participating each time alongside 15-25 carers. Details are carefully adhered to in order to make the experience as easy as possible for anyone wanting to join, such as the inclusion of a mobile toilet transported on a trailer.

The upshot of this careful organisation is something that has an indisputably positive outcome. “We have a guy with Motor Neurone Disease who joins us and is adamant that the walks have extended his lifespan,” says John, continuing: “the big things that people experience are good company, meeting like-minded individuals, and a big change in both psychological and physical wellbeing as a result of being able to get out into their beloved countryside.”

As one walker said, “when I reach somewhere beautiful and look around I can’t help but think it would make anyone smile.” If nothing else, that seems like a pretty perfect reason to give it a try.

Has this inspired you? Sign up to Steptember and get out there to explore! 

10 tips to get active with your kids this summer

The summer holidays are a great chance to practice getting more active ahead of Steptember, an inclusive event designed to get you moving more, whilst raising some money for Scope!

Here are 10 tips to get more active with your children. 

1.       Go swimming

This is a great activity for all kids, and can be very therapeutic for disabled children. If you’re lucky with the weather, an outdoor pool or Lido in the sun is even more fun!

Young woman riding a bike through a park

2.       Go on a bike ride

It’s the closest thing to flying, and even if you’ve not done it for ages, you never forget!

3.       Camp out

Even if it’s just for one night, it will mean you’re out in nature exploring together as a family, and bound to be a lot more active than when you’re at home.

Young disabled girl dancing4.      Dance off

Make a playlist of all your family’s favourite upbeat songs and then have a dance off!

5.       Fly a kite

Everyone loves a bit of kite flying. You could even make one together the day before.

6.       Walk the dog

Don’t have one? Borrow a neighbour’s or sign up to Borrow My Doggy.

Family of four - mum, dad, and two daughters, one using a wheelchair, laughing together in a forest7.       Go on a family hike

The great thing about the UK is that you’re never too far from a National Park, and a lot of them have many accessible routes and special event days too. You can make it even more exciting by planning a lovely picnic.

8.      Make a den

All kids love to make dens. Why not find some old items around the house to decorate it with, and get constructing together in the garden or local park?

Four young children racing in a garden
 

9.       Have a race

This could be as simple or complicated as you like. Egg and spoon race? Wheelchair race? Family relay race? Sack race? Whatever you fancy!

10.   Put ideas in a hat!

Can’t decide between yourselves? Each write your active idea down on some paper, pop into a hat and then let your kids pick one out. It’s a great way to avoid arguments and keep things fair!

You can also see our tips for a stress-free summer holiday, and games all children can play

Feeling ready to sign up to Steptember

Exercises to do at your desk

This September, we’re asking you to get a little more activity into your day, and raise funds for Scope’s work. Sign up today for Steptember and get ready to get active! Here are some exercises you can do at your desk to boost your step count.

There are so many articles out there about different ways to work out at work. We’ve scoured all of the articles to find the best exercises you can do at your desk from every source possible. And we’ve tried to make sure all of these can be done without standing.

1. Stretch

Forbes includes this exercise as one of their 10 best on their website and we think it’s good to start with a stretch. Sit tall in your chair and stretch your arms towards the ceiling for starters. You probably already do this exercise. Then, take your left arm, reach across your body and grab the back of your chair and turn your torso to the right to stretch out your spine. Repeat this with your right arm turning toward the left.

2. Arm pumps

WebMD has a series of great exercises, but most of them involve getting up from your seat. If that’s not an option, you can try arm pumps. If you have any items on your desk that can act as weights, this can help. Hold your arms up at right angles on each side of your head and straighten them out. Try that as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Then you can either rest for 30 seconds, or tap your feet on the floor football drill style during that time. Repeat this 3-5 times.

3. Single arm raises

Men’s Fitness recommends a series of workout tips for sitting at your desk, but a lot of these are definitely for the seasoned professional used to gym jargon. This exercise though, is fairly simple. Place your chair against a wall and lift your left arm to shoulder height. Turn your palm facing the wall and push against the surface. Try to hold this until you can’t anymore, or for 15 seconds. Then repeat this on the opposite side.

4. Bicep building

Another tip from WebMD, this will allow you to strengthen your biceps and stretch your back. Put your hands on your desk, somewhere you can hang on. Push your chair back until your head is between your arms and you can see the floor. Then pull yourself slowly back in. Do this 15 times.

5. Hidden leg raises

HowStuffWorks has a series of secret workouts you can do at work if you don’t want anyone to notice. One of the best ones we found is a series of leg raises you can do under your desk. All you have to do is sit in your chair, hold your ab muscles tight, lift one leg toe the height of your hip and hold for 10 seconds, switching to the other leg when you’re done. If raising your leg isn’t an option, consider just tilting your body to one side and using your core muscles to hold the position for 10 seconds, and then switch.

6. Ab clenches

Wisebread makes a fantastic point in that some of these exercises might make you look a little silly at your desk. We think there’s nothing to be ashamed of in getting some exercise in, but in case you’re shy, you can try this one. Just sit at your desk and clench your own ab muscles for about ten seconds, then release. And repeat again in sets of 10-15. You can even do this with your bum muscles if you so wish. You might look a bit irritated or like you’re concentrating hard, but otherwise, no one will know.

7. Wrist stretch

So this is more of a stretch than an exercise – but these are important too! Especially if you type a lot. We’re throwing this in as a common stretch that many people do and something you should too. Put your right arm out in front of you with your palm facing up. Take your left arm and, parallel to your right hand, grab your fingers, pulling your fingers back just slightly and your hand with it until your palm is facing outward instead of up to the ceiling. This should stretch out your wrist and arm. Hold for 10 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

8. Tricep dips

Lifehack has a decent number of exercises you can try at your desk, some already mentioned. But this one we think can work for a variety of people, and you don’t need arm rests. Put your arms behind your back, make your hands into fists, and rest them on either side behind your bum. Then try to raise your bum off of the chair. You should feel your tricep muscle engaged. Try holding it for 10 seconds, taking a short rest and then repeating 10-15 times.

9. Cushion squeeze

Sam Murphy writing for the Guardian has a decent amount of suggested exercises in his article, but one of the best ones we found is the cushion squeeze. You can place a cushion or a rolled up jumper in between your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor and your hips square. Then squeeze the cushion and clench your bum. You should feel your inner thighs and bottom muscles contracting. Hold for five seconds and the slowly relax, but don’t let the cushion fall. Repeat this six times.

10. Cooldown stretches

WikiHow has a collection of fantastic simple stretches you can do involving all parts of your body. For this article, we’ll encourage you to roll your shoulders. Try 10 times backwards first and then 10 times forward. This can help relieve tension all throughout the day.

To get more active, please get a few friends and sign up for SteptemberIf you have any other specific exercises we haven’t mentioned here, please join our community and share them.

Get moving with Steptember

This September we’re asking you to take part in a challenge that will boost your health and boost the ways Scope can continue to do the work that we do.

The average office worker takes around 2,500 steps a day. But according to the NHS, that average office worker should be taking a minimum of 10,000 steps today. Next month, we’re going to challenge you to reach this minimum goal.

Steptember is a fun team step challenge that encourages you to become more active while at the same time raising funds for Scope’s work. We want you to take 10,000 steps a day for 28 days in September and raise a minimum of £100 for Scope’s work.

Steptember isn’t just about steps though! We have over 60 activities encompassing a wide range of activities and other forms of mobility that can convert to “steps”. There’s an activity for almost everyone that can work toward a total.

By logging in to the Steptember website, you can not only log your steps, but you can also see your progression, receive rewards as you climb and use it to work together in a team of up to four colleagues to improve your chances.

If you’ve been looking for a reason to improve your health or even a reason to bond with colleagues, give Steptember a try!

Steptember is supported by Kris Sauders-Stowe, a fitness instructor who runs a range of wheelchair-based exercise classes called Wheely Good Fitness, and Jack Eyers, an amputee model and personal trainer who starred in Scope’s spoof of the classic Levis 1980s lauderette ad Strip for Scope.

Visit the Steptember website to sign up with a team today. You can also call 020 7619 7270 or email events@scope.org.uk to sign up.

Andrew McDonald takes part in the London Triathlon for Scope

Scope chair Andrew McDonald is getting ready to compete in the team relay category of the AJ Bell London Triathlon series on 8 August.

Andrew, who will swim 1.5km in the race, will be joined by Finbar O’Callaghan, a consultant paediatric neurologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital, who will be doing a 40km cycle, and Jonathan Hoare, director of Investor Networks at ShareAction, who will run 10km.

The team has chosen to raise money for Scope and the Cure Parkinson’s Trust.

Andrew, who is a trustee of the Cure Parkinson’s Trust, says: “None of my team has taken part in a triathlon before and so we thought we would begin with the biggest in the world, the London Triathlon.

“We wanted to do it for two causes close to our heart: Scope, the disability charity and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust. Roll on 8 August!”

Mark Atkinson, interim Chief Executive of the disability charity Scope, says: “We’re delighted that Andrew, Finbar and Jonathan have decided to take on the London Triathlon for Scope and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust.

“I know that Andrew will approach this challenge with the same energy and commitment he applies to everything he takes on. We wish them all the best of luck for the event.”

Andrew was appointed Scope chair in October last year.  He had a successful career as a senior civil servant, most recently as chief executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2007 and has incurable prostate cancer.

Sponsor the team.

“Working with Scope is never boring”

Guest post from Malt Films – the creative team behind our new shop stock appeal film – a spoof of the iconic Cadbury’s Milk Tray ads. We’re aiming to get one million items donated to our shops this July – and we hope you can help us!

Here Malt Films talk about how it came about, and how Scope have challenged their thinking towards disability. 

It was a hot spring day, which is lucky in England. Even at 7am as we unloaded equipment and explored the luxurious home that would be our workplace for the next 13 hours, the camera crew and director were discussing the best order of the day. The challenge was that although we were filming in strong sunlight, the film needed to look like it was nighttime, and the position of the sun and the shadows would be important.

Stunt man dressed in black standing on a high wallThe stunt man – a ridiculously talented 24-year-old called Pip, was being given makeup and everyone on set was excited for the moment he would jump (hopefully unharmed) from the upper floor balcony. We were rushing to get as much filmed as possible before our star, Adam Hills, arrived at 9.30am; and so we were pressing-on, filming stunts that would make even a hardened athlete envious – it would be a tight schedule!

There’s one thing we have come to learn working with Scope – it’s never boring. We’ve met loads of incredible people with stories that highlight why we Storyboard artwork sketches of different scenes for the filmneed to change society so that disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. We’ve also been helping out on Scope’s current End The Awkward campaign that’s challenging people about their attitudes towards disability with honest personal anecdotes from disabled people. So when we were asked to help Scope produce the 2015 Great Donate stock appeal film, there was a real buzz in the studio.

This year’s film would be a spoof of the classic Cadbury’s Milk Tray adverts and spoofs are not always easy. How similar can the films be for it to work?  Will the original advertisers mind? How do you turn a chocolate box into a Scope donation bag? These were all questions we had to answer as well as writing the script, producing a storyboard, and getting permission to use the iconic music from the original advert.

Holly Candy smiling, holding a donation bag and walking down a streetThe shoot would be split into two days. A full day in Buckinghamshire, where Adam Hill’s character would break into a stately home to leave a donation bag for a lucky woman. This sees him overcome a high perimeter wall, navigate some aggressive dogs (comically played by ‘sausage dogs’), and some laser beams (because all good films have laser beams). The second day would be a half day at a Scope shop in north London where we meet Holly Valance from Neighbours, as the lucky lady who learns (spoiler alert) that she may not have been the only person he visited that night.

Adam Hills standing next to the stuntman in a garden, both dressed in blackThis project proved to be as exciting as we’d expected. A healthy rivalry developed between Adam Hills and his “ridiculously good looking” stunt double, who had been drafted in for some of the more impossible moves.

Adam rivaled Pip with his own cartwheels in a battle of who could perform the most stunts. We had a classic ‘continuity blues’ moment when Adam arrived wearing a bright yellow and green prosthetic leg as opposed to his usual skin-coloured one. And to make it more dramatic, a swan decided to perform a series of excitable manoeuvres of its own, right in the middle of the dilemma.

Adam Hills sitting on a wooden bench and holding a sausage dog on his lapSuch is the nature of film-making, for all the best laid plans there are always challenges that need to be overcome and unexpected moments you might film that become unscripted nuances. There is one big unscripted gag in the final film – can you guess what it is?

If you’re interested to see some of this first hand, we also produced a behind-the-scenes film too:

All in all, we’re extremely proud to have been a part of such a dynamic, entertaining and challenging campaign.

What do you think? Has it inspired you to take a bag of donations to your nearest Scope shop

London Marathon proposal…did she say yes?

Guest blog by Pally Chahal. The 2015 London Marathon will be a day 132 Scope runners will look back on for years to come – but Pally’s memory will be even more special.

On Sunday 26th April 2015 I embarked on my fifth London Marathon. However, unlike my previous accomplishments, this marathon was going to be very unique, special and one I will always look back on with fond memories. This marathon I was going to go down on one knee and propose to the love of my life, Pam, in front of thousands of runners and spectators cheering us on.

Training time

I was able to build up to 20.52 miles by late February, which was quite impressive considering I was plagued with calf injures and general life tends to overrule training. My commitment to running and at the same time my family fish and chip shop business is quite high, so I never really got a full day of recovery from long distance runs. However, this training would not be like my previous regimes – this time I was training with an engagement ring in a box in my pocket. Many times it hampered my training due to constant rubbing on my thigh.

Final preparations

Around late March I was running around 45 to 55 miles per week and was quite happy with how the box was sitting in my pocket and its constant bashing against my thigh. All that was needed now was some guidance from Scope, for whom I have raised nearly £8,000 over four London marathons. They are a great bunch of people who are always available to give advice and support for fundraising ideas and will always stay in touch with your marathon training. The last four marathons have always been that little bit easier at the 14.5, 18.5 and 24 mile marks where you can rely on the Scope volunteers to cheer you on. Once I had revealed my idea to the team they did everything to help me make sure I succeeded in meeting up with Pam and my family members to carry out the proposal. They provided me with grandstand passes which is yards away from the finishing line, with Buckingham Palace providing the perfect backdrop to propose to Pam.

The marathon

The conditions were perfect – overcast with a slight drizzle of rain, all of which made for a great day of running and hopefully another personal best – sub three hours 30 minutes was on the cards. One thing I didn’t account for in my training was carrying my mobile phone just to make sure I could stay in touch with Pam at the grandstand. It was going to be interesting to see how the phone sat in my other pocket but I remained positive and channelled my thoughts into proposing and seeing the love of my life yards away from the finishing line. As the race progressed I was really comfortable – my pace and breathing were awesome. Around half way I managed to ring a friend to get some information on my predicted time based on my half marathon completion and it was three hours 13 minutes. During this time I was totally ecstatic and managed to ring Pam to find out she was with family by the grandstand – at this point I could barely contain my excitement and gave a surging roar to the crowd of supporters.

London Marathon CheeringThis seemed like plain sailing; surely it couldn’t be that easy with only eight miles to go. I could visualise myself proposing to Pam and topping it off with a personal best at the finishing line. Little did I know running off too fast during the first half of the marathon would come back to haunt me. I slowly started feeling pain under my foot, a pain I have been overcoming during training. For up to 21 miles I managed to march through the pain. Eventually it became more excruciating and unbearable, causing me to stop and attend to my foot. As the miles remaining decreased so did my energy to fight against the pain. The personal best became a distant memory and I channelled my thoughts into proposing to Pam. The Scope team at the 24.5 mile mark really spurred me on to finish strong. As I approached the last 385 yards they never seemed more beautiful – the constant sound of cheering, clapping and the whole atmosphere made me, and I’m sure the rest of runners, feel like celebrities as we approached the finishing line. However, my job was not finished yet and this young lady who always surprised me was now going to have the surprise of her life.

The proposal

On the right hand side of The Mall, facing the finishing line, I managed to see my brother who pointed out where Pam was standing and I slowly staggered towards her as she cheered my name. I can remember fiddling with my pocket zip and came over to Pam to kiss her whilst managing to unzip the pocket. I slowly stepped away from Pam and somehow plucked up the courage to get on one knee after a brutal 26.2 miles, holding on to a pole for support and said those precious words ‘will you marry me?’. The look on Pam’s face clearly showed she was absolutely shocked and the supporters around her started cheering. Knowing the pain I was in Pam didn’t hesitate and quickly said yes. At this moment I was the happiest man alive – all the pain I went through was well worth it. I managed to pick myself up and come across to Pam for a well-deserved celebration kiss. I collected myself together and gave another roar, clenching my fists in the air and marching to the finishing line as a very happy man.

Engaged life Coverage of the proposal on facebook

I finished in three hours, 43 minutes and 17 seconds; not my best time but very insignificant in terms of what I will remember from this year’s London Marathon. We managed to meet up with everyone at the post-race reception which Scope hold for all their runners and families. Here all the runners got a complimentary professional massage for their efforts and refreshments. The Scope team provided us with glasses of champagne to celebrate our engagement.

When I went to work the next day, customers started to congratulate me on the wedding proposal – they’d seen the video which went viral on Facebook. It was also covered by ITV news and the Daily Mail. I could not have imagined this sort of response at all and to be honest it was all so surreal. I would just like to say a big thank you firstly to the Scope Team for making this special event turn into a very special day for Pam and me, a day we will always cherish. Secondly a big thank you to all my customers, family and friends from Eltham, New Eltham, Sidcup and far out who have always donated generously for a great course and continue to do so. And a special thanks to Pam for making my dreams come true and being my true angel.

Fancy being one of our London Marathon runners next year? Find out more.