Runners will make a marathon effort for African farming charity

Norfolk farmer Luke Paterson and NFU dairy adviser Phoebe Russell are both running the 2021 London Marathon

Norfolk farmer Luke Paterson and NFU dairy adviser Phoebe Russell are both running the 2021 London Marathon for the Farm Africa charity - Credit: Luke Paterson / Phoebe Russell

Two members of Norfolk's farming community are going the extra mile to help their counterparts in Africa - by running the London Marathon for charity.

Phoebe Russell, a dairy adviser for the National Farmers' Union (NFU), who lives near King's Lynn, and Luke Paterson of Dilham Hall Farms, near North Walsham, are both training for the physical challenge on October 3.

They will run 26 miles to raise money for international development charity Farm Africa, which aims to reduce poverty in eastern Africa by supporting farmers to grow more, and sell for more.

Miss Russell is already more than half-way to her target of £2,250. But rather than simply asking for donations, she has used her industry contacts to provide prizes for an online raffle.

Donations can be translated into tickets costing £6 each or two for £10, with donated prizes including tickets for the Annual Worshipful Company of Butchers' Christmas Lunch, bottles of wine and vodka, a 2kg block of 24-month aged cheddar, a £25 book voucher, a food and drink hamper, a personalised cushion and milk candles.

She said the raffle was a fun way to raise money for the valuable work of Farm Africa.

"It is really important to get agriculture right in this country, but at the same time food, farming and the environment are global concerns so I wanted to support a worthwhile charity that taps into those areas," she said.

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"I really wanted to do the marathon, so this is an opportunity to do it for a good cause. It takes a lot of time and energy, but that really keeps you going when it becomes a big slog to train."

Mr Paterson also said the exhausting long training runs for his first marathon were worth the effort for the Farm Africa cause.

"I worked in South Africa when I was 18, and had my eyes opened to what poverty means over there compared to over here," he said.

"If you can teach someone to grow and market their crops so they can stand on their own two feet, it seemed a good way to go about supporting people."

Marian Torres, special events manager for Farm Africa, said the money raised will help farmers across eastern Africa cope with unprecedented challenges.

"The Covid-19 pandemic and changing climates are threatening to plunge farming communities in the region into crippling poverty," she said.

"The support of the public is vital to help provide farmers in eastern Africa with the knowledge and tools they need to build stronger, sustainable businesses that can thrive, even during a crisis.”

NFU dairy adviser Phoebe Russell is running the 2021 London Marathon to raise money for Farm Africa

NFU dairy adviser Phoebe Russell is running the 2021 London Marathon to raise money for Farm Africa - Credit: Phoebe Russell

Luke Paterson of Dilham Hall Farms is running the 2021 London Marathon to raise money for Farm Africa

Luke Paterson of Dilham Hall Farms is running the 2021 London Marathon to raise money for Farm Africa - Credit: Luke Paterson


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