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Vicar the Rev. John Reeve running eight marathons to raise funds for Netley Marsh church repairs

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A VICAR is running eight marathons to raise money to pay for much-needed renovations at a Netley Marsh church.

The Rev. John Reeve (56) has been running for several years and usually takes part in 5k events. He had never run a marathon prior to the launch of the Netley Marsh Big Challenge, which aims to raise approximately £380,000 to repair St Matthews Church in Ringwood Road.

Members of the community of all ages have been setting their own challenges over the last three months in order to help raise cash, including youngsters riding their bikes to school, knitting and walking laps of their garden.

The Rev. Reeve has run five of eight marathons to raise money for the church
The Rev. Reeve has run five of eight marathons to raise money for the church

The Rev. Reeve told the A&T: “The challenge I set myself was to complete eight summer marathons. So far I’ve completed five, with my sixth next Tuesday. They have been brutal – I hadn’t run a marathon previously and these, so closely packed together, have really been a challenge. My first was completed in just under five hours [and] the rest have all been over six hours.”

He added: “So far our restoration fund stands at nearly £58,000. The current target for the floor replacement and an underfloor heating system has been costed at £270,000. The total costs to include a redecoration of the church and a lighting update has been costed at £380,000. This really is a big challenge – but the church is used extensively by our community for christenings, weddings and funerals.”

Members of staff at the Netley Marsh C of E Infant School, which is next to the church, will be joined by parents tomorrow (Saturday) for a community marathon being run in relay. The Rev. Reeve will be running the first five miles and final three.

The schoolchildren are joining in a similar relay marathon next week in which participants can either walk, jog or run.

Last year the Rev. Reeve took part in a fundraiser for the other church he is in charge of, St Mary’s at Copythorne, and ran four miles every four hours over a 24-hour period.

To sponsor him, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/revdjohn

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