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Olympic Champion announced as ambassador for Age UK in Vélo South event

Sally Gunnell OBE has been announced as Age UK West Sussex’s official ambassador for the Vélo South 100-mile cycle.



Sally Gunnell OBE remains the only woman ever to hold four major track titles concurrently – Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth. Following her retirement from international athletics, Sally developed a new career as a television presenter and motivational speaker. She has written four books on fitness, health, self-fulfilment and wellbeing.

Vélo South is one of only two fully closed road 100-mile sportives this year and Age UK West Sussex is pleased to announce Olympic Champion Sally Gunnell as its official ambassador for West Sussex’s exciting new challenge in support of older people across the county at the cycling event of the year on Sunday 23rd September 2018.

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Taking in the gorgeous surroundings of her home county of West Sussex, Sally will be tackling this special 100-mile fully closed road sportive with other riders supporting Age UK West Sussex. After her professional success on the track Sally has maintained her healthy lifestyle by taking on a number of amateur challenges.

Sally says:

“I love keeping my mind and body active. To sustain motivation I always recommend individuals link it to goals throughout the year. One of my goals this year is to raise money for a fantastic local, community-minded cause. Both my parents and in-laws are in their 80s and it is important to me that they are looked after. With the ageing population, I know the importance of looking after ourselves and those around us, so come and join me for Vélo South, and cycle around West Sussex to help raise funds for Age UK West Sussex and older people in our county.”

Sally Gunnell OBE

So if you’re feeling ready to mix things up and take on the green, traffic-free roads of West Sussex, Vélo South offers the perfect setting to get the girls together, challenge the boys or cycle the roads of the South Downs with your family. Celebrate your community and ride this one together for Age UK West Sussex. No one should have no one and Age UK West Sussex’s services are here to bring older people together.

Places are extremely limited and will sell out fast, so to be part of something really special, visit

“Entry costs just £40 per person with a commitment to raising only £400 for our very local charity. Every penny of which will go to help older people in West Sussex enjoy later life and live independently for longer:

  • £5 funds a home cooked 2-course lunch at one of our lunch clubs or a weekly trip to one of our social events
  • £10 funds an hour’s tea and chat from one of our home visitors or two keep fit classes
  • £40 funds an activity day for someone with dementia – giving much needed respite to their often older carer and stimulating and warm support to those living with this dreadful condition
  • £95 funds a six week course of support for someone just home from hospital – they can be discharged sooner knowing there is help at hand to get them back onto their feet and into the community
  • £700 funds one of our social activity centres for a day enabling hundreds of older people to socialise, keep fit and warm and eat well”

Vélo South will take 15,000 riders of all ability levels on a truly unforgettable journey through the stunning West Sussex countryside. Enjoying the lush scenery of the South Downs National Park as you start and finishing the amazing cycling journey at the iconic Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit.

The route starts trackside on the iconic Goodwood Motor Circuit, where riders will cycle east towards Horsham, before heading towards the Downs. Riders will enter through quintessential West Sussex countryside with its short ups and downs, passing many pretty villages and Hamlets in the process.

Staying South West of Horsham riders start to head back along the South Downs National Park passing South Harting to a gradual descent back toward Chichester and onto a grandstand finish on the track of Goodwood Motor Circuit.

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Gatwick Airport firefighters raise over £2,300 running runway marathon



A group of firefighters from Gatwick Airport Fire and Rescue Service have raised more than £2,300 for local NHS charity SASH, by completing a relay marathon run on the airport’s main runway.

Thirteen members of White Watch took turns to run 13 lengths of the 3.3-kilometre runway on Sunday morning, along with Rebecca Howells, a nurse from Redhill’s East Surrey Hospital, who completed the run in full uniform.

The initiative was first raised by Firefighter James Buckman, who wanted a novel way to support SASH – the charity for East Surrey Hospital, and all the services provided by Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. SASH was chosen by staff at Gatwick as the airport’s new charity partner earlier this year.

Station Manager, Steven Bartlett, who supported James in making the run happen, said:

“We decided running a relay marathon on the main runway would be something a bit different and, with many flights resuming this week, not something we are likely to get the chance to do again.

“The support has been fantastic and we are really grateful to all at Gatwick who have contributed in some way to making this event possible, and of course to all those who have donated.”

Rebecca Howells said:

“I was so excited to hear about Gatwick staff voting to support our hospitals as the airport’s new charity partner, and this run was a really unique opportunity. It was great to be able to help raise some funds and to say thank you to the firefighters and everyone at Gatwick.”

The event also formed part of SASH’s Get Active challenge, in collaboration with Run Series – the organisers of Run Reigate and Run Gatwick events – which asks people to use their allocated daily exercise to help reach a 30,000-mile target, through running, walking, cycling, home workouts or online classes.

Donations are still being welcomed and can be done through White Watch’s Just Giving page.

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