ONE of Britain’s best-loved actresses is poised to add a touch of glamour to a major fundraising event in the New Forest.
Susan Hampshire has agreed to start this year’s John Austin Half Marathon, which has raised more than £35,000 for Oakhaven Hospice in Lymington since it was first held in 2011.
The award-winning actress, Oakhaven’s patron, is best known for her role as Fleur in the BBC TV series The Forsyte Saga.
But she also played a Titanic passenger in the US sci-fi series The Time Tunnel and later portrayed conservationist Joy Adamson in the film Living Free, the sequel to Born Free. Her TV credits include Monarch of the Glen and Casualty.
The half marathon is run in memory of a Boldre businessman who was a patient at the hospice.
Mike Denny, Oakhaven’s fundraising and communications manager, said: “It’s an excellent event, well organised by a dedicated and hard-working committee, and is now fully established on the local running calendar.
“We’re very excited to have Susan Hamp-shire start the run for us this year.
“It’s very good of her to give up her time to help us.”
The half marathon will be held on March 9, starting and finishing at Brockenhurst College.
Mr Denny added: “This highly popular event always attracts a top quality field of good club runners, but it’s open to all and entries from fun runners and joggers are most welcome.
“There’s ample parking and plenty of refreshments for runners and supporters.
“The course is fast and flat and takes in some superb scenic areas of the Forest. It’s an ideal preparation for those attempting the London Marathon in April.”
Oakhaven costs £3m a year to run but the NHS supplies only 13 per cent of the cash, leaving the hospice to find the rest itself.
Staff support more than 180 patients weekly, not only at the hospice but also in the community through a range of services including one called Oakhaven at Home.
- Anyone wishing to enter the half marathon should go online and visit johnaustinhalf.co.uk.