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Robin Hood Marathon’s charity fundraising for Nottingham hospitals

Cressida Laywood proudly wearing her Nottingham Hospital Charity t-shirt, with gym teacher Cheryl Smith

More than 100 runners chose to support Nottingham Hospitals Charity in this year’s Robin Hood Marathon, Half Marathon and Mini Marathon, which took place on Sunday 25 September.

Funds are still coming in, but we are delighted that runners have so far raised more than £28,000, to fund improvements to facilities, new equipment, staff development, additional services for patients and vital research at Queen’s Medical Centre, City Hospital and Ropewalk House.

One of Nottingham Hospitals Charity’s fundraisers at this year’s event was Cressida Laywood.

Thirty-two years ago, aged 21, Cressida ran the Robin Hood Half Marathon, completing the course in a time of 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Eight years later, however, Cressida suffered a brain haemorrhage, which resulted in a speech and language disability (aphasia), a blind spot, and paralysis down the right side.

“So that put a spanner in the works for me doing another half marathon!” laughs Cressida.

Cressida, who worked in homelessness and housing before her haemorrhage, explains that over the years she has struggled with her disability and has been through low periods, gaining weight and becoming less mobile.

“However,” she explains, “five years ago a friend gave me an exercise bike and for the past four years on the anniversary of my haemorrhage, rather than feeling sad, I’ve done an exercise bike ride to raise money for charity.”

This year, for the 24th anniversary of her haemorrhage, Cressida decided to leave the exercise bike at home and – assisted by her gym teacher, Cheryl Smith – to take on the Robin Cressida & CherylHood Mini Marathon, a 1.5 mile course which follows the river Trent and finishes in front of huge crowds in the race village.

Cressida chose to raise money for the Neurosurgical Unit at Queen’s Medical Centre and Linden Lodge Neuro Rehabilitation Unit at City Hospital, as she says “to say thank you to the health professionals who saved my life”.  To date Cressida and Cheryl have raised over £1,000.

“Cheryl and I had a surreal day walking slowly along the Mini Marathon.  We completed the course to great cheers from the crowds which was very emotional!  Thirty-two years ago I did the Robin Hood Half Marathon, but doing the Mini Marathon this year was something very special.”

 Barbara Cathcart, Chief Executive of Nottingham Hospitals Charity, added: “We are so grateful to Cressida, Cheryl and all of the amazing fundraisers who have raised such a lot of money at this year’s Robin Hood Marathon in support of Nottingham’s hospitals.  Individuals like Cressida who continually challenge themselves are so inspiring.  The money that she has raised will have a hugely positive impact on Neuro services at our hospitals.”

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