Runners fly the flag for NE Fife

Nicola Wood.
Nicola Wood.

north East Fife will be well represented at this year’s London Marathon on Sunday.

St Andrews-based charity, the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR) - which has fielded runners in the annual event since 1999 - will have 54 of them this year, all sporting the global charity’s distinctive turquoise and white colours.

Also taking part is Newport man Chris Toll, running his second London Marathon this year in memory of his mum, Jean, who fought a brave five-year battle against chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Chris (49) said: “I ran the London Marathon last year for Macmillan Cancer Support.

“As it turned out, that was just a few days before my mum died.

“So I have decided to run again this year in memory of my mum, Jean, and to raise funds for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.”

Chris, who works in golf tourism, joked: “I’m going to be 50 this year, so maybe plodding around half marathons and now full marathons is my way of putting off a mid-life crisis!”

Anyone wishing to sponsor Chris can do so online at

Also running on Sunday is Cupar man Gavin McDonnell, who is determined to get round the 26-mile course to say thank you to the sponsors who have helped him raise over £1400 so far.

Gavin said: “I’m running for the National Autistic Society.

“My son, Will, has been diagnosed as autistic and the society does wonderful work with families and the general public to accept difference, not indifference.

“Their help and support is, and has been, invaluable.”

Gavin has been able to collect his huge amount to date with help from local businesses Cupar Ford, Kuchenstore of Cupar, and Morrisons in St Andrews.

He added: “I’m nervous, excited, and scared all at the same time for Sunday.

“I’m definitely not aiming for any set time.

“But I’ll get round even if it kills me — I owe it to all my sponsors!”


Gavin can be sponsored online at

Adamson Hospital emergency nurse practitioner, Nikki Wood (42), who lives in Kennoway, is one of those running for AICR and has been amazed at the support she has received since erecting a stand publicising her run and AICR at the Cupar hospital.

She said: “I am running for AICR because I want to raise money for this amazing charity based in St Andrews, which benefits everyone and does such a fantastic amount for cancer research all over the world.”

Edinburgh solicitor Laura Bloxham (28), whose older sister, Rachael is a graduate of St Andrews University, is running the marathon with her father, Roy (54), a business manager in Berwick Upon Tweed. The father and daughter are taking part in memory Roy’s youngest sister and Laura’s much-loved aunt Tracey Brooks, who succumbed to cancer in October 2011.

Roy said: “Tracey was a beautiful person who we all miss very much and think about her every day.

‘‘We are so lucky to have so many wonderful memories of Tracey, not least the week we all spent in St Andrews last August for my eldest daughter’s wedding and therefore, given its base and the tremendous work it does, that’s the reason that AICR is the right charity for us to raise as much money as possible for. Additionally, as Tracey was living in Spain when she died, the fact that AICR supports research projects internationally is also very important to us.

“We hope that by raising funds for AICR we can help aid vital research into the causes and prevention of cancer that will maybe mean families in the future do not have to go through what our family sadly has.”

Nicole Rice – Laura’s cousin and Roy’s niece - who is based in Essex, is also running with them for the charity.

AICR’s fundraising and events supervisor, Suzanne Shaw, herself a former pupil of Madras College in St Andrews said: “Every year the London Marathon welcomes participants from all around the world. This means that AICR always has a truly international team, in keeping with our charity’s ethos of funding research around the world.’’