Ability Bow gym gets London Marathon boost from prison officer, teacher, nurse and GP
PUBLISHED: 16:23 21 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:37 21 April 2017
Prison officer Baz Colley is one of a squad of 28 wellwishers running in Sunday’s London Marathon to support East London’s unique Bow Ability therapy gym.
The 48-year-old from Suffolk (pictured at last year’s marathon arriving in The Mall) joins other volunteers like teacher Lloyd Stevens, 36, from Shoreditch, and hospital nurse Tracey Taylor, 54, from Limehouse.
The ‘gym squad’ also includes a 36-year-old beauty salon owner from Sussex and an East End GP whose exited patients are supporting him with donations.
Dr Sarit Patel, 49, a practitioner at the Wapping-St Katharine Docks practice, is running for the gym “as it’s the only one for those with disabilities in Tower Hamlets and is under pressure due to lack of funding”.
Many of his patients at the practice at Nightingale House in Thomas More Street, near the Tower of London, are chipping in to help him reach his £1,350 target.
“I have worked in Tower Hamlets for 22 years and decided to contribute something back to an East End charity,” he says.
“I usually watch the Marathon with my children, but this year will be my first race taking part.”
The health-living guru adds: “I love running as it gives me a sense of space and freedom and you take in the sights of the city while listening to entire albums without being disturbed!”
Sarit fits in his training with his surgery work and family life.
The Ability Bow charity, which is housed in St Paul’s Old Ford parish church in St Stephen’s Road, near Roman Road Market, has faced financial shortfalls year-on-year since it opened 11 years ago to help the disabled or those recovering from illness or injury. It had to lay off half its professional therapists in October to balance its books.
The gym subsidises fees for those referred from GPs needing their services, charging less than £5 an hour for one-to-one professional therapy rather than the full £60 commercial rate, making sure those needing its help aren’t turned away by high fees.
It relies on grants and gets some regular income from Tower Hamlets council and neighbouring Hackney GP commissioning group.
But much of its financial gap has to be filled by voluntary support like the London Marathon.
The gym’s Lorna Dorrell explained: “The Marathon is an important day in our fundraising calendar and we need anyone with spare time on Sunday to cheer and encourage our 28 runners.
“We’re gathering at our spot outside the Lord Nelson, a lovely 19th century East End pub on the Isle of Dogs. We need people from 9am to set up our banners and to help throughout the day.”
The Lord Nelson is in Manchester Road, a few minutes from the Island Gardens DLR stop.
The 28 runners have each pledged to raise £1,350—which should pull in £37,800 if they all ‘come home’.