Bentham marathon couple’s fundraising efforts help light up care home

A mobile sensory unit has illuminated a care home thanks to the fundraising efforts of super marathon couple Nick and Diane Armstrong.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 3:36 pm
Valerie, Nick and Diane.
Valerie, Nick and Diane.

Nick and Diane organised the Bentham Marathon in May 2019 in memory of Nick’s mother Valerie, who was a resident at Leonard Cheshire’s Holehird care home in Windemere for four years.

The couple managed to raise more than £4,000 for the service in what was also the pair’s landmark 100th marathon.

The funds have since gone towards a sensory trolley for Holehird residents to enjoy.

The sensory trolley at Holehird, with user Debbie.

“We are extremely grateful to Nick and Diane for their incredible fundraising efforts last year, which have enabled us to purchase this fantastic piece of equipment,” said Judy Hyland and Emma Connolly, deputy managers at Holehird.

“The trolley will no doubt benefit all of Holehird’s residents in years to come.”

The unit comes equipped with a range of materials to enhance the environment and encourage independence, imagination and cognitive development for people who have had brain injuries. This includes materials like sensory silks and pebbles, UV lights, projectors, music amplifiers, an ‘infinity tunnel’ and an aromatherapy unit.

The lights and effects can be extremely comforting for those interacting with it and can also help reduce anxiety for those who may be otherwise unable to express their fears.

The cheque presentation at Holehird.

The mobile unit can be moved around the home, allowing it to be used individually in residents’ bedrooms but also in the main lounge as part of a social activity for everyone to enjoy.

“Nick and I are so proud that the money we raised through our 100 marathon challenge has been able to contribute towards Holehird purchasing a sensory trolley,” Diane said.

“We are so pleased as this is something that every resident at Holehird will be able to benefit from!”

Nick, Diane and Valerie all founded the Bentham Beagle’s running club. It was with Valerie that Nick and Diane both ran their first marathons, Nick in 2009 in Snowdonia and Diane in 2012 at Disney World.

Diane and Nick at Bentham Marathon.

Valerie herself had a number of impressive achievements over her lifetime, partaking in some of the major marathons around the world including Berlin, Boston, London and New York.

In general, Valerie was a lover of the outdoors, walking from John O’Groats to Lands’ End, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and hiking up to Everest Base Camp.

It was after a walking accident in Austria in 2013 when Valerie suffered a life changing head injury, becoming paralysed from the neck down causing her to lose part of her sight and the ability to swallow.

After the accident Valerie was cared for at Holehird, where she lived for four years before passing away in September 2018.