I ran 16 miles on Sunday evening for the first time in a number of months. I completed that distance in the knowledge that the 2015 London Marathon is only eight weeks away – and I have just chosen the two charities that I will be running in aid of.
Last week I met with a family from Barry who had received wonderful support from the pet charity PDSA. I have got to know Peter and the staff in the PDSA store on Holton Road. After seeing how local residents in the Vale have been able to access expert veterinary care - I am determined to support a charity that helps so many cat and dog owners. Not only is the charity reliant on donations, but so many of their shops are staffed by volunteers. In fact, in the Barry store Quita Smith, a volunteer that works six days a week, has just been awarded the PDSA volunteer of the year award. A terrific achievement that ultimately benefits pet owners and their animals, and I commend the effort that Quita and her fellow volunteers put in.
A couple of weeks ago I visited the local PDSA vet hospital in Cardiff to meet with Gail Smith from Barry and her dog ‘Champ’. The Labrador receives regular support for chronic diabetes, and because the PDSA provides support for pensioners like Gail it means that ‘Champ’ has returned to health and can receive ongoing care for many years to come. As I was shown around the state of the art hospital I couldn’t help but feel assured that I had chosen a wonderful charity to support. The marathon is a big challenge, but I know that during the last few miles running for Macmillan and the PDSA will get me over the line.
The training is going well, and I have been upping my mileage since Christmas. I go out late in the evening and try and get out a couple times a week. I will join 30,000 other runners who will also be raising money for good causes. As to whether I can finish as the fastest MP this year, who knows? We will find out on the day.
To sponsor Alun Cairns and support the PDSA and MacMillan Cancer Support, log onto http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AlunCairnsMP
Donations and sponsorship forms can also be sent to Alun Cairns MP, 29 High Street, Barry, CF62