Duncan Baker MP hailed the “absolutely magnificent” work of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) after visiting its Norfolk hospice.
Mr Baker was shown around The Nook, in Framingham Earl, near Norwich, as a thank you for his herculean fundraising efforts at the recent Virgin Money London Marathon.
The North Norfolk MP supported 26 worthy causes during his gruelling day in the capital – one for each of the 26.2 miles.
Mile 24 was completed for EACH and he was shown around The Nook on Friday morning by the charity’s Chief Executive, Phil Gormley, and Director of Care, Tracy Rennie.
Mr Baker, who was taking part in his first marathon and smashed his fundraising target, said: “It’s absolutely magnificent.
“To see what a fantastic facility it is, and the difference it makes, puts everything in perspective and I’d like to pay tribute to the people who do such an amazing job looking after the children and young people here.
“It was wonderful to meet some of them and it means I can go back to parliament and talk about some of the issues and the core funding that should be there for children’s hospices.
“As a parent myself, to walk around and imagine what it must be like for the families that come here was very thought-provoking.
“All my North Norfolk constituents recognise what an amazing job EACH does.”
Mr Baker finished the marathon in an impressive time of 4 hours and 16 minutes.
In addition to his punishing training schedule, he wrote hundreds of letters and delivered thousands of leaflets encouraging people to support his fundraising efforts.
The final total is still being added up but Mr Baker hopes to have raised in the region of £35,000, including Gift Aid, which will be divided between his 26 charities.
His donation to EACH will support the completion of the Nook Jetty project and the funding of a memory day at The Nook.
“I’m so delighted to stand here and be able to see that EACH has a share of the money I raised,” added the 41-year-old.
“I have a personal connection to the charity, because of the amazing care received by Benny Pitcher (a child from East Runton who lost his fight with cancer in July 2020, aged six).
“Because of that, it made a real difference to me personally because of the work I did with the Pitcher family.
“Running the marathon was an incredible experience and very moving, because you see people raising money for so many amazing and personal causes.
“No matter how hard it got, I wanted to keep running every inch of the way and to raise that much was beyond my wildest dreams.
“I didn’t expect it and wondered if we’d be able to scrape over the line and reach £26,000.
“Instead, we smashed it and I’m extremely grateful to everyone who donated and supported me.
“For every charity, it’s a tangible chunk of money that will help and make a real difference to the amazing work they do. That’s exactly what I wanted.”
EACH cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions, and their families, across Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Essex.
In addition to The Nook, it has two other hospices – The Treehouse, in Ipswich, and at Milton, near Cambridge.