TWO members of staff at a Fermanagh primary school will be donning their running shoes for the world’s biggest half-marathon later this year to raise money for cancer charities.

Henrietta Fawcett, a classroom assistant at Maguiresbridge Primary School, has been inspired by her husband Eddie’s own cancer diagnosis to sign up for the Great North Run in England this September.

She will be joined at the starting line by school principal, Honor Irvine.

Officially the world’s biggest half-marathon, over 57,000 runners will be taking part in the 13.1 mile route around the city of Newcastle.

As well as being busy putting in the miles in preparation for their upcoming run, Henrietta has been organising efforts to help raise money for Cancer Research UK and the North West Cancer Centre at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Eddie, who is also the school’s caretaker, is currently receiving treatment at the North West Cancer Centre, following a diagnosis at the start of this year.

As part of the fundraising efforts, Maguiresbridge Primary School will be hosting a charity vintage tea party this Saturday.

The event, which will take place from 10am to noon in the school’s main building, will feature a fashion show from ‘Queen Bee’ in Fivemiletown.

There will also be a raffle with prizes donated from local businesses.

Both women, who are members of Maguiresbridge running club, train three to four times a week and also take part in races locally and further afield.

However, the Great North Run is a new challenge they are very much looking forward to!

Speaking to the Impartial Reporter this week, Henrietta said: “I have always watched the Great North Run on the television and been inspired by the sheer number of runners taking part and the electric atmosphere.

“Having completed several half marathons locally we decided we would like to take on this very popular race in the runners calendar. It also seemed like the perfect opportunity to raise some much-needed funds for Cancer Research UK and the North West Cancer Centre in Altnagelvin.”

The classroom assistant revealed that her husband only discovered he had cancer after suffering a sudden heart attack last November.

She said: “Fortunately he was accompanied by friends who were trained in First Aid and CPR. These friends performed CPR for a period of time before the ambulance arrived and conveyed him to Altnagelvin hospital, where he received life-saving treatment.

“Eddie is very grateful to the staff of both the cardiac unit in Altnagelvin and SWAH for their excellent and attentive care and the family intend to hold another fundraising event in September to raise funds for the cardiac units.”

Henrietta said that, during this time in hospital, doctors discovered that her husband’s blood levels were “irregular”.

After carrying out subsequent investigations and scans, it was established that he had bowel cancer and secondary tumours on his liver.

He had surgery to remove the tumour in the bowel in February and is currently receiving chemotherapy treatment in North West Cancer Centre.

Henrietta said: “We cannot thank the staff enough for all their excellent care.”