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Brentford trio run marathons

Bees staff run the streets of London and Manchester to raise money for charity

12 November 2021

Three members of Brentford FC football staff have taken part in fund-raising efforts, running marathons. As part of an ongoing effort from all at Brentford Football Club to raise money for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) in memory of former Technical Director Robert Rowan, Head of Medical Neil Greig ran the Manchester Marathon. The money Neil raised will also support new community initiatives to help cardiac health.

Neil was joined on the roads of Manchester by Matt Bramhall, who is part of the Athletic Performance team, while James Purdue, Head of B Team Athletic Performance, ran the London Marathon. James’ run was also in memory of Robert Rowan and was raising money for CRY. Matt ran to raise funds for Florence Nightingale Hospice in memory of his brother-in-law Felix Clay.

Neil completed the Manchester Marathon in 2:56:11, which was a Personal Best by 11 minutes. In doing so, Neil achieved a long time personal goal to break the three-hour barrier. Neil had signed up for the Manchester Marathon earlier this year and saw it as great opportunity to raise money for CRY in memory of Robert as well as helping to fund the purchase of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) for local sports teams and grounds.

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Robert died suddenly in November 2018 after suffering a fatal cardiomyopathy episode. He is still fondly remembered by all at Brentford FC and the Club has been raising money for CRY at a variety of events over the past three years. The money raised for this effort is being split between CRY, who will fund heart screenings in Robert’s name, and Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. Neil has raised in excess of £42,000, including Gift Aid and offline donations and thanked Director Nity Raj, Co-Dirctor of Football Phil Giles and Trust Chief Executive Lee Doyle for their help and support in co-ordinating the fund-raising effort and securing a donation from the Club.

The Trust will spend some of what is raised to provide AEDs and training in how to use them for football clubs or at sports pitches in the local area. This is aimed at helping save the life of someone experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest. This continues work already done by the Trust in Robert’s memory, which has included hosting heart screenings in the area and a new position working between Brentford B and the Trust.

Neil said: “I would like to thank the players, staff and fans of the Club for their incredible generosity. Robert’s wife Suzanne and mother Jackie have been incredibly supportive throughout. To get messages from them was incredibly humbling. I am also very grateful to my wife Kate and daughter Eve for giving me time to train when it is something we do not have enough of.

“It’s been a privilege to be able to run in the colours of CRY and raise funds which will, hopefully, directly impact peoples’ lives in a positive manner. To represent the club, in Rob Rowan’s name, has been such a positive experience for me personally. This, and future activities like it, continues to ensure that Rob’s influence within the club remains strong, as it should do.”

James completed the London Marathon in 2:56:53. He has raised almost £4,000 for CRY and also offered thanks to Suzanne Rowan for her messages of support in the lead up to the run. He picked out his family, Linday and James Purdue, and Adam Cox for their help in preparing for the marathon.

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James added: “Running for Rob highlighted some fantastic memories of a great man who I have deeply missed at Brentford but more importantly as a friend. He was such a warm, friendly and funny man who gave me some great times whilst in his company. Personally, I would love to continue to raise money in Rob's honour but also make sure that he remains in the thoughts of everyone connected to Brentford Football Club.”

Matt ran part of the Manchester Marathon with Neil and finished in a time of 3:06:06. Matt ran in memory of Felix, who passed away in May 2019 after a five-year battle with bowel cancer, aged 44, leaving behind a wife and two children aged nine and seven. He has raised more than £8,000 for Florence Nightingale Hospice.

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Matt said: “I would like to thank my wife Caroline, son George and everyone who donated. Felix was an exceptionally talented photographer and video journalist who worked for The Guardian for more than ten years. His death had a huge impact on the family, including my wife Caroline, Felix’s sister. The family have found some comfort in the fact he received exceptional care from the team at Nightingale’s. I wanted to honour his memory and provide a small token of thanks to the incredible team at the hospice, who careed for him and provided support to the family at an incredibly difficult time.

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To sponsor Neil, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/NeilGreig1. To sponsor James visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JamesPurdue2. To sponsor Matt visit justgiving.com/fundraising/matt-bramhall.


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