A 36-year-old sales supervisor, from Bracknell, shocked her friends when she informed them her much anticipated ‘hen do’ would include the Windsor Half-Marathon.
Nadia Baker (nee Strilciw) married 40-year-old soldier James Baker, in late October, and, fresh from the couple’s honeymoon in Australia and Thailand she explained how the unusual pre-wedding tradition came about.
“I wanted to accomplish something, rather than just simply get drunk. So, I had the fun, drinking part of the hen do at the start of September, and, as I like to raise money for charity and do quite a few fun runs, I thought I’d do a half marathon. There wasn’t any drinking before the run.
“Because I was marrying somebody in the army – James has been in the Royal Signals for 12½ years – I decided I’d tie it in with Help for Heroes and raise money for the charity.”
Not surprisingly, the initial reaction from her friends was mixed, to say the least. However, her sister, Rachael Holmes, 40, a project manager, from Warfield, and cousin, Cathy James, 44, a sales director from Woking, wanted to give it a go.
“My friends were all ‘that’s lovely – we’ll see you at the finish line; we won’t be taking part’.
“But my sister and my cousin both said they’d give it a go. My sister’s not really a runner but she was up for taking part and helping with the sponsorship. My cousin, Cathy, who’s a bit of a runner anyway, decided to support us by running with us.
“During the event, other runners were really supportive, offering congratulations, asking about the wedding, asking why I was wearing the veil; one person even asked if I was a real bride. And I said ‘of course; I’m not going to put a veil on and just run for a bit of a giggle’.”
So far, Nadia’s fundraising ‘hen run’ has amassed £445 for the Armed Forces charity.
Help for Heroes’ Senior Fundraising Manager, Sarah Whattam, added: “We were blown away when we heard of how Nadine and her sister had gone about raising the money, so our thanks go out to them. We have many supporters who raise money for us in a run, but this is the first we’ve heard of where it is part of a hen do.
“We all agreed we’d have sided with Nadine’s friends! It’s made us think, though: maybe we should provide hen and stag-night fundraising support packages. The possibilities are endless, just don’t give us the details.”
Help for Heroes champions the Armed Forces community and helps them live well after service. The charity helps them, and their families, to recover and get on with their lives. It has already supported more than 30,000 people and won’t stop until every veteran gets the support they deserve.
The Charity supports veterans, and their families, from any branch of the UK military – regulars or reserves – irrespective of length or place of service, and locally embedded civilians (and their families) who worked alongside our Armed Forces.
To get support, please visit: helpforheroes.org.uk.