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Kim's London Marathon story

24 September 2020

COVID-19 may have postponed the London Marathon 2020, but Kim Butler, manager of The Victoria Hotel in Beeston, is raring to go for 2021. She shares how much she has already raised, along with her plans to raise even more funds to support life-changing cancer research at John van Geest Cancer Research Centre (JvG).

Kim’s story:

“I have worked for as a manager at the Victoria Hotel in Beeston for almost 19 years and it is an absolute privilege to be running the London Marathon 2020 in memory of Neil Kelso, a dear friend, boss and family member.

“Neil was passionate about supporting the John van Geest Cancer Research Centre, as he had initially been affected by cancer through friends and family and was then diagnosed with cancer himself. To support the work of the Centre, Neil decided to adopt JvG as the Victoria Hotel’s chosen charity.

“Sadly, Neil lost his fight to cancer last year.

“With the support of our community, I believe that we can keep Neil's legacy alive forever. His dedication and passion for the John Van Geest Cancer Research Centre can live on through us all. It means the world to me that I am able to continue his legacy and keep raising funds for the charity he dedicated so much of his time to, and I know it means a great deal to his family and friends too.

“When Neil created the 'Vic' he also created a community of friends. It is these friends who have played such a significant role in the amount raised for JvG, and without Neil's determination and their support, we could have never raised such a tremendous sum of money. Even during Neil's weakest days, he still found the strength to continue raising money for the organisation he held so dear in his heart.

For me, the marathon will be one the most important runs of my life. Neil was always very proud of my running achievements and I could not think of any better way to honour his memory than to run the London Marathon for the charity he dedicated himself to.

You can keep up to date with Kim’s progress here, and if you would like to support Kim in raising funds for life-changing cancer research, you can do so here.

Balls to Poverty founder is NTU’s Alumnus of the Year

18 November 2013

Joe Sargison is Alumnus of the Year 2013A sports coach whose charity has handed out more than 28,000 footballs and rugby balls to South African and Ugandan children has been named as Nottingham Trent University's Alumnus of the year.

Joe Sargison (PGCE 2004) set up Balls to Poverty in 2004 following a trip to Johannesburg, where he found a group of township children playing barefoot with a bunch of rags formed into a makeshift football.

He gave them a football and was astounded by the effect such a simple gesture had on them.  Now, almost ten years later, Balls to Poverty has raised more than £275,000 and held 800 education workshops for South African and Ugandan coaches. It has won praise for the way it has used sport to help steer youngsters away from crime and drug abuse and also offers regular coaching for more than 20,000 children in Nottingham.

Joe was working as director of the Football Performance Programme at Central College Nottingham when he first visited South Africa.

After his initial trip he returned to South Africa in 2005 with 16 students and three staff from the college, 30 balls and some football kits.  His team joined the Premier Cup football championships in Cape Town and reached the last 16. When not competing, they coached and played with local teams.

He said: "Sports coaching is a powerful tool which can help steer young people away from issues like crime, gangs and drug abuse. In fact, Western Cape Province authorities in South Africa attribute some of their reduced crime figures to the influence of Balls to Poverty.”

He added:  "It's great to be recognised by Nottingham Trent University where my teaching career began”.

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