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Monday, 20 October 2014

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Ulverston couple left feeling ‘humbled’ and ‘emotional’ by fundraiser

AN outpouring of support during a fundraising event for a couple battling life-limiting conditions left them feeling “humbled” and “emotional”.

The first Pennington Puddle Dash took place yesterday at Pennington Primary School, in aid of Paul and Clare Coulston, and is expected to raise £20,000.

The event consisted of a series of races to raise money for the Pennington Benevolent Fund, which will go towards vital equipment for Mr Coulston and to securing the future of their children Finlay, seven, and five-year-old Eleanor.

Mr Coulston, 38, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year, which severely restricts his mobility – but was so moved by the event he decided to attempt the one-mile race.

He said: “I’m just going to walk as far as I can. I had to take part with all this going on! It’s been very, very well organised, I had no idea how big it was going to be.

“It’s bizarre to see how everyone has come together for us and it is humbling. It’s not so much the financial side, it’s more that everyone is thinking of us and that everyone has come together.”

Mrs Coulston, 37, who has battled cancer since 2009, fought back tears as she expressed her gratitude to everyone who had taken part in the event.

She said: “It’s very emotional. We just have so many lovely friends and it’s unbelievable how people have come together for us like this. It gives you a huge lift and it makes us feel hopeful about the future.”

The event was the brainchild of 41-year-old Amanda Tizard, from Swarthmoor, whose son, Nathan, goes to school with Finlay.

“When Clare was diagnosed it was just horrific. I was there for her as a friend but I just felt so powerless. But when Paul was diagnosed I just thought I had to do something. I run this route regularly and it’s so beautiful I thought it would be great to get people to see it.”

Furness MP, John Woodcock, ran the six-mile race and described the couple as “extraordinary human beings”.

He said: “Their warmth and strength is overwhelming and I think this event just shows how much they have affected people.”

The six-mile event was won with ease by Black Combe Runners member, Mike McIver, in 35 minutes. Second across the line was Mr Coulston’s brother, Alan Coulston.

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