A musician from London, who each year completes a crazy fundraising challenge, is running more than 1,000km during Lent to fundraise for us.
Finan Jones always chooses a charity close to his heart when he undertakes his challenges – which have included swimming 235.2km, surviving on just £47 for 47 days, and running 500km.
In the past he has raised thousands of pounds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the Alzheimer’s Society.
This Lent, Finan is running 1,081km in memory of internationally renowned organist Catherine Ennis, whose husband, retired QC John Higham, he taught to play the bassoon.
Finan said: “I had already planned my accumulator running challenge for this year but hadn’t chosen a charity to fundraise for.
“Then I heard that Catherine had very sadly died and emailed John to give him my condolences. I asked if there was a charity he would like me to fundraise for and he mentioned how wonderful Severn Hospice had been and how the nurses had cared not just for Catherine but also for him. So, I said I would like to raise money for the hospice.
“I’m not a natural runner but when I set myself a challenge, I’m determined to see it through. I know that I’ll finish the challenge physically, I know my legs won’t fall off or something like that and I know it will hurt – but for me the biggest challenge is the mental one.”
Catherine, who passed away on Christmas Eve with cancer, was known around the world for her musical talent.
She was organist and director of music at St Lawrence Jewry in the City of London for the past 35 years, performed at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and played at venues including London’s Royal Festival Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Cathedral as well as in Russia, America, Australia and Europe.
She regularly gave recitals in Shropshire including at Shrewsbury Abbey, St Mary’s Church, Shrewsbury, and St Chad’s and organised concerts featuring world class opera singers and fellow musicians.
Her latest CD, of works by various composers on the Peter Collins organ in St Bartholomew’s Church, Orford, was released in October 2020.
John added: “Finan really is an amazing guy. He used to come to me about once a fortnight and he would teach me to play with confidence and expression.
“Catherine was around, and she would always ask him what he was up to.
“He got in touch when he heard that Catherine had died, and I was just incredibly touched when he said he wanted to raise money for Severn Hospice.”
Area fundraiser Jess Druce said: “We’re proud we were there for Catherine and John when they needed us most and that our clinical teams were able to care for her.
“Finan’s latest challenge is wonderful. He really is full of ideas and we are so grateful that we’re able to benefit from his latest one. He obviously thought a great deal of John and Catherine and it’s a lovely tribute to her that he has chosen to fundraise for us.
“His support means so much to us, particularly now. Our fundraising has been very badly hit by the pandemic, so his challenge is very welcome.
“Challenge Yourself’ is one of our fundraising themes at the moment and Finan’s fundraising shows exactly how it’s done!”