Woman runs London Marathon to fundraise for counselling charity

A woman has raised over £3,500 for a counselling charity she used herself as a teenager by running the London Marathon.

Hanna Williams, 32, raised £3,545 for Off the Record Twickenham by completing the marathon last weekend and received lots of positive feedback from others local to the charity.

Williams explained that the charity felt very personal to her having used the service herself and by her friends.

She said: “It felt like it was targeted to our age group and it felt much more approachable, like I had somewhere specific to go and that was hugely important. 

“I planned to do lots of fundraising events and I was working out how I was ever going to raise £2,000 but it happened quickly.

“It went beyond my expectations and you can see that people have left some amazing comments and they really do care about the charity so I think that had a big role to play.” 

Williams planned to run the marathon back in 2019 which was sadly cancelled twice due to Covid.  

Training for the third time helped her get back into a routine and exercise all within a good cause.  

She added: “Knowing it was for a good cause and making it a bit of a personal challenge while being around other people helped me.  

“Off the Record always needs to fundraise as a local small charity and the money would essentially help keep the services running and making sure that they can keep improving their services.”  

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a rise in young people seeking counselling services.  

Off the Record administrator Hilary Fyles, 50, said: “I’m aware of it in the news, whether it’s local or national news, that a lot of young people are struggling with mental health issues.

“And so I think without a shadow of a doubt, both here at this service and throughout the country, that we are seeing a real need for and a demand for more and better mental health services.

“The London Marathon is a way of raising funds and as a charity we are dependent on fundraising.

“It also helps raise awareness for young people to know who we are, what it is we do and what we can provide to help them.”  

Off the Record will be celebrating its 30th birthday next year.  

It gives over 1,500 young people, aged between 11-24, access to free and confidential drop-in counselling services in Richmond every year.

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