Get behind Islington’s London Marathon runners

More than 30,000 runners are set to pound the streets of the capital on Sunday in the London Marathon, raising millions of pounds for many good causes. The Gazette talks to some of the Islington entrants during their final preparations for the race.

An Islington GP who has three children is running the London marathon for NSPCC Childline.

Cassy Henderson, 36, from Noel Road, hopes to raise �4,000 for the children’s charity.

“What I love about Childline is that they reach out to the kids when they are at their lowest point, even when the health services, social workers and specialists haven’t helped, when all other efforts have failed.

“Being a mum makes a real difference – we have to deal with kids’ hopes and dreams most of the day, and living in London you see some kids that are so privileged and some who really aren’t.”

With a target time of just four and a half hours in mind, preparing for the marathon is tough for Cassy, who has to undertake gruelling training runs of up to 20 miles. She says: “I’m learning about carbohydrate gels and protein bars. It’s been quite a revelation.”

But it’s not only children that she wants to inspire: “I’ve seen so many joggers out, so many people getting on the bandwagon and the other mums I’ve been talking to have been inspired to make their own runs longer”

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You can sponsor Cassy’s effort in aid of NSPCC Childline at

An Islington tennis coach who found himself homeless at the age of 18 is planning to run the London marathon just three years on.

Jonathan Farmer, 21, from Archway, hopes to raise money for Centrepoint, the charity which helped him rebuild his life.

“I was moving week by week,” recounts Jonathan, who was made homeless by a family dispute, resorting to sofa-surfing to stay off the streets. “I applied for an emergency loan, and a day or two later, I got a call from Centrepoint.

“They gave me place and a support worker. It was all about living alone and being responsible for myself. She helped a lot – even if I had bills to pay she’d remind me how to do them and how to submit benefit applications and stuff like that.” With the help of the charity, Jonathan was able to qualify as a freelance tennis coach.”

Three years on, he wants to give something back and hopes to raise �2,000: “It’ll go to a young person who can’t do many things themselves, and help them learn to support themselves for life.

“I want other young people who have had trouble in their lives to know that they should never give up.”

You can sponsor Jonathan at http://www.just

The help Tim Nicholls’ family received from the National Autistic Society will be at the front of his mind when he runs on Sunday.

The 25-year-old trainee solicitor, of Hornsey Road, Holloway, wants to raise as much money as possible for the charity that has helped his older brother Andrew since he was diagnosed with autism aged three.

Tim said: “Over the following 28 years, the National Autistic Society (NAS) supported my family and educated Andrew.

“With help from the NAS, he has become a brother that it would be impossible to be prouder of.

“But the sad fact is that we were lucky. Andrew had a place at an autism-specific school that met his needs and, by and large, gets the support he needs as an adult with autism.

“Too many of the 600,000 other people with autism in the UK don’t get this, and they should.”

To support Tim and help him raise vital funds for NAS, visit