Kate, nine, and brother Tom, six, running marathon in their Suffolk garden

A brother and sister have pledged to run 234 laps of their garden, the equivalent of running a marathon, to raise money for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) whilst they stay at home.

Kate and Tom Nicolson, who live with mum Chloe and dad Ian in Grundisburgh, and attend the village primary school, started their challenge earlier this week. They had contrasting reactions upon realising the enormity of their challenge!

Kate, nine, said:

“So, so tired. I wish it could have been a danceathon because I’m going to be a river dancer when I grow up. I knew Tom would find it easier than me! Mummy’s doing the same challenge on the cross trainer every day, so she’s also tired.

“We want to help daddy’s charity and all the children going through hard times. Thank you so much to everyone for their donations!”

Football-mad Tom, six, who idolises England captain Harry Kane, said:

“I find running really fun and pretty easy. I did 20 laps and I think I’m going to do 25 tomorrow.”

Chloe is a teacher at Ravenswood Primary School in Ipswich, whilst Ian is EACH Acting Director of Income Generation.

Ian said:

“The kids really wanted to do something to support EACH and we wanted to keep them active during this awful period of staying at home. We came up with the idea of running laps around the house and garden, so we measured it, then worked out how many laps they’d need to do for a marathon to build in some maths! We made a trail around the garden with the lawnmower, set up some drink stations and some markers to avoid corner-cutting. We then ‘marshal’ the course for each day’s run!

“We set the challenge of running just 10 laps a day, but I think they’ll smash that. Dad’s hidden goal is to have them running 30 laps on the final few days. We’ve been amazed at the support already and they’re so excited to see their friends and family sponsoring them. The JustGiving page was so easy to set up and they love putting on their updates and watching the money build. The added bonus is mum and dad get to sit in the garden for half an hour and watch!”

EACH is encouraging supporters to get creative with at-home fundraising as disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, including the closure of all its shops across the region and the cancellation or postponement of fundraising activities, means it is facing a loss of £1.8 million in income over 12 weeks. Other examples of people supporting the good cause from home include a family riding from Land’s End to John o’ Groats on a cycling machine and a couple growing sunflowers over 12 weeks.

The charity has three hospices, The Treehouse, in Ipswich, The Nook, in Norfolk, and one in Milton, Cambridgeshire. All have just been rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission following inspections in January.

To help slow the spread of the coronavirus and shield the most vulnerable, which includes the children EACH offers care, planned care activities, such as short breaks and wellbeing therapies, wellbeing groups and events, face-to-face counselling, care of the child’s body after they have died as well as EACH’s Help at Home volunteering service, have been suspended.

EACH is currently focused on delivering end-of-life care and bereavement support, working closely with the NHS to provide the capacity to care for the sickest children and responding to urgent requests for care and support as best it can.

However, the charity offers vital support to around 450 families at any one time and needs to be able to start offering its care service in full as soon as it is safe to do so.

For further inspiration to do your own at-home fundraising visit www.each.org.uk/get-involved. Alternatively, make a donation by sponsoring Kate and Tom at www.justgiving.com/kateandtomsuperrun.