A LONG-SUPPORTING member of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has pledged his support to one of its major fundraising campaigns by embarking on a marathon.
Avid runner Richard Negus, from Finningham in Suffolk, is slipping on his shoes ahead of the Northumberland Coastal Path Marathon early next year.
Richard, a landscape gardener by trade, is raising funds for one of GWCT’s latest appeals - the Action for Curlew campaign.
It’s a scheme the Trust launched in May this year as there are just 300 curlew pairs south of Birmingham left, and these could disappear in just eight years.
To help save this iconic bird and help reverse the decline, Richard is targeting £3,000.
“The news that there are less than 300 curlew south of Birmingham is tragic yet, thanks to the research undertaken by the GWCT, it appears that this decline can be halted and reversed,” the 46-year-old explained.
“Of course to get this information out, to landowners and managers and the conservation tools they need to utilise, costs money.
“If I was a wealthy man, I would simply open my cheque book, write out a suitably generous donation and return to my life.”
He added: “The sound of a curlew, to me, means home. It is that missing echo of home that led me embark upon my own effort to raise money for and awareness of the GWCT’s Action for Curlew appeal. How could such an evocative sound, such an iconic part of my life, have just gone silent?”
Richard, a former Household Cavalryman, will be setting off with 300 runners on February 24th 2018 - a route which will see him run 27 miles from Alnwick to Bamburgh through sand hills, soft dunes, wide expanse of beach, shingle and marram grass.
In preparation, Richard runs 25 to 30 miles per week and has a warm-up half marathon in the Suffolk Coastal Path endurance race next month.
And although he’s done a string of running events in previous years, including the world-famous London Marathon, he says this challenge reaches a whole new level.
He continued: “The Northumberland Coastal Path Marathon is the first ‘extreme marathon’ I have ever taken part in.
“When you run on the roads, it can become monotonous and jarring. When you are running a cross country endurance race, such as this, you start to take in the scenery and the majesty of where you are running.
“There are no crowds to cheer you on, just a few hundred other competitors rather than thousands. It is a proper challenge of mind over matter and lots of great big sand dunes and miles of beaches with a north easterly gale blowing in you face. Then, you have to scramble up the side of Bamburgh Castle at the end to add insult to injury!”
For every £250 Richard raises, the money will fund a GWCT advisor to visit a farmer or landowner to provide practical support, advice and guidance that can immediately be put into practice.
Richard added: “If, like me, you wish to see the curlew return to our farm and wetlands and would be kind enough to support my fundraising efforts for the GWCT’s Curlew Appeal, I will be eternally grateful.”
To make an online donation, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Richard-Negus3.
Those wishing to send a cheque to the charity please ensure the envelope is marked with Curlew Appeal.
Additionally, you can follow his progress on Twitter @troopersnooks.
Notes to editors
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.
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Telephone: 01425 651000