Couple in 48-mile running challenge in aid of NSPCC

Couple in 48-mile running challenge in aid of NSPCC

15 September 2021

A FORMER Comber man and his wife today embark upon a 48-mile challenge in aid of the NSPCC. 

James and Lauren Stone — who also work together as part of the charity’s helpline team in Belfast — are taking part in the Power of 4 challenge in aid of Childline’s 35th birthday. 

The helpline provides adults with advice, guidance and support and can take action on their behalf if they have concerns about a child who is either being abused or is at risk of abuse.

The Power of 4 event, organised by debt strategists and NSPCC corporate partner Bell & Company, will see participants in teams of four run or walk four miles, every four hours, for 48 hours, covering a total of 48 miles beginning today and concluding on Friday.

Lauren, originally from Castlederg in Co Tyrone, who will be joined by two other helpline staff, Grainne Boyle and Ellen Clift in a team of four, explained how her and James’ insight into the work of the NSPCC’s helpline played a huge part in deciding to sign up.

“Since working at the helpline, we have naturally become aware of just how busy the service is and the crucial support the charity provides children with across Northern Ireland,” she explained.

“Both the helpline and Childline are such crucial services. So, when the opportunity came to help raise funds, as well as the fact it’s Childline’s 35th birthday this year, we couldn’t miss out on it.”

As James and Lauren get ready to embark on the challenge, they have been busy training alongside their one-year-old baby boy Jack, who will also be involved in the challenge.

“We are planning on walking the challenge with our son Jack, who will be joining us on a number of the walks in his buggy,” Lauren explained.

“We have been busy training around Belfast and try to go for walks with Jack as often as possible. It isn’t always easy but we try our best to squeeze some training in where we can!”

Despite the length and commitment of the challenge, the couple are excited to take part in the Power of 4 to help raise vital funds for the NSPCC, which has continued to support children and young people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We are really looking forward to the Power of 4, although we are a little nervous about the sleep deprivation, especially with an almost one-year-old. We both enjoy our sleep and I think the night-time walks are where we will both struggle,” said Lauren.

“On the other hand, I know our team will have a laugh and support each other. Our amazing colleagues, Grainne and Ellen, will be there to keep us motivated along the way.”

Lauren added: “Childline is a truly amazing service. We know so many children reach out to speak with their amazing counsellors and I would urge parents, schools and anyone who works with children to make them aware of Childline and how they can contact them for support.” 

NSPCC Northern Ireland’s supporter fundraising manager, Joanne McMaster, said the organisation

is pleased Lauren and James are taking part in the Power of 4 Challenge.

She remarked: “It is fantastic they have been busy training for the event to help raise money which will help make a huge difference to the lives of children and young people throughout Northern Ireland.

“As the Power of 4 challenge returns for its second year, it is set to be another brilliant event and wouldn’t be possible without our corporate partner Bell & Company, who came up with the idea and have gone above and beyond organising it. 

“We wish Lauren and James, as well as Grainne and Ellen, the very best of luck as they get ready to embark on this challenge and thank them for all the hard work and training they have put in so far.”

Anyone interested in supporting James and Lauren is asked to visit the NSPCC NI website.