Published
26 February 2024

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Close family connections motivate marathon man David

Ties to the hospice over three generations and 50 years make run a very personal mission

With a grandfather and uncle who were cared for at home by St Christopher’s, a grandmother who was employed in various roles in the hospice for 25 years and a sister who has volunteered in a number of its shops, there was never any doubt which charity David Shaw would be running for in his first London Marathon.

When you add in that David’s father and four uncles used to participate regularly in a very different kind of a fundraising race for the hospice 50 years ago, it really was a done a deal.

“The whole family just loves St Christopher’s,” says David, 31, of Crystal Palace.

David’s Grandparents

“It all started with my grandmother Ann who worked in the kitchen and various other roles up to the early 90s. Dame Cicely Saunders attended her funeral in 2001. Then they looked after my grandfather Jack, when he died of cancer in 1996. I always wanted to give something back.”

David’s Uncle Tony

David’s uncle Anthony Shaw was also cared for at home at the end of his life. As a result, David’s family, particularly his mother Janet Shaw, have participated in many events and been involved in numerous fundraising efforts, including bake and plant sales, over the years.

David, who was brought up in Petts Wood and now lives in Crystal Palace, passes the hospice regularly on his training runs and is glad of the reminder of the cause for which he’ll be running in April.  Although he does bemoan the hilly terrain of south east London.

“Being 6ft 4ins puts a real strain on my knees and all the hills just make it even worse,” he adds.

Those training runs also see David cover the same ground as his father, John and four uncles in the 1970s and 80s when they competed in fancy dress in the St Christopher’s Pram Race, down Sydenham High Street from the top of Wells Park Road to The Bell pub at Bell Green.

“Dad and his brothers grew up in Kingsthorpe Road and competed in this event many times and even won it one year, in the late 70s I believe. This was our family’s first recorded instance of organised fundraising for St Christopher’s and we have participated in many other fun events since then – it’s nice to think that we are still trying to do our small bit (in race form too!) to support the hospice 50 odd years later.”

It won’t be David’s first marathon – that was a very different affair. The Marathon du Medoc, staged near Bordeaux, involved drinking a glass of wine every mile. “Amazingly, I felt better at the end of the race than I did at the beginning,” David recalls.

He’s also completed the Brighton marathon and, with a fair wind, is hoping to beat three and a half hours, both for personal achievement and because it will mean doubting friends will have to make good on offers to up their sponsorship, helping to drive him towards his £6,000 target.

With such a close family connection, David is guaranteed plenty of support on the day and is looking forward to celebrating with them all afterwards.

If you’d like to support David’s fundraising, visit his page where you can make a donation

If you’d like to take on a challenge for St Christopher’s you can find out more on our events calendar

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