Memories of Martha make a marathon man out of Christian

Posted on - 7th January, 2020 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Health, People, Preston News
Christian during one of his runs to raise money for Baby Beat
Christian during one of his runs to raise money for Baby Beat. Pic: Lancashire Teaching Hospitals

A former Prestonian has marked turning 40 by running more than a thousand miles to raise £1,428.41 for Baby Beat in memory of his niece Martha, who sadly passed away within eight days of her birth five years ago.


Christian Harding, who was a student at Our Lady’s Catholic High School in Fulwood and Cardinal Newman College, has taken part in 14 events in all, running anywhere from Scotland to Wales and Lancashire to Cornwall since February.

Christan is planning to keep running into next year until he reaches the target of 1,200 miles in 12 months that he set himself at the outset.

Behind all of the pavement pounding are his memories of Martha, Christian’s niece who was cared for by Sharoe Green Maternity Unit when she was born ill.

Read More: How you can bag funding for your favourite Preston community group or charity

The family also received help during this time from The Baby Beat Appeal, a local registered charity raising funds for the Maternity Units and Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit, which are part of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Baby Beat was established over 30 years ago and supports research and the care of unborn babies and their family through pregnancy to birth and the post-natal care of premature or new-borns requiring specialist neonatal support.

The marathoner who left Preston to study at St Andrews University in Fife, where he gained a doctorate, explained: “Martha was born poorly. While she was with us, she was looked after brilliantly by the staff at Sharoe Green Maternity Unit.

“My younger sister Clare Kinley, Martha’s mum, my brother-in-law Ben and my nephew Elliott, who is now eight but was just two at the time, as well as myself and other family members, were able to spend as much time as possible with her thanks to a special family room on the ward funded by Baby Beat.

“Clare and Ben were also grateful to have a ‘cold cot’, again funded by Baby Beat, for Martha to use as it meant they could keep her with them for the night after she passed.”

Read more: How these ‘fat middle-aged blokes’ raised £10,000 for baby charity

Christian, who lives in St Andrews with his wife Briony, added: “Until this year, I had never run a marathon.

“I took up running four years ago and had done the odd half marathon but I wanted to do something special in Martha’s memory in what is a big year for me and would have been for her too.”

Baby Beat’s work ensures that hospitals are able to stay at the very forefront of new developments and help to provide technology designed to ensure babies born within the local community have the very best start to life.

Baby Beat’s remit covers four key areas: before pregnancy with research, during pregnancy with the latest monitoring equipment and technology to date including the wellbeing of the mother, following delivery with Neonatal equipment for premature and sick babies and sadly beyond with bereavement support.

Anyone wanting to support Christian in his final races can do so via his Just Giving page.

Read More: Preston slimmers raise over £3,000 for Rosemere

What do you think of Christian’s fundraising? Let us know in the comments.

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