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An update from Keith Passingham, Chair of the Finish Line Fund, who is on a mission to complete 7 amazing Challenges in his 70th Year, and in doing so raise funds for the Finish Line Fund.

One Challenge – Four very special medals

It is some time since I posted information on my seven challenges to raise money for Finish Line Fund, therefore you are all due an update.

I have now completed five challenges, with two remaining – Colosseum and Great Wall of China. I need to report back to you on the latest two completed, Chichen Itza and Taj Mahal. The account for Chichen Itza is below and the one for Taj Mahal will follow soon.

The main reason for lack of updates is due to picking up my first ever injury that stopped me running. The day before publishing the Colosseum challenge, I developed a problem in my left hip mid run. This turned out to be a tear in the tendon attaching the glutes to the top of the femur. Huge thanks to the lovely Claire for treating me and devising the rehabilitation – I’m now run/walking for approximately 5k. Hopefully I’ll be able to complete the challenges by the end of the year!


This New Wonder kicked off the challenges in January during lockdown. Chichen Itza was a town in Mexico which thrived until the 1200s. I linked this very loosely to a virtual run organised by Hare & Tortoise Ltd – running 1,111 miles around Lake Superior. This involved uploading runs to Strava and these were picked up and displayed on a virtual map, graph, and various tables.

The start was marred by taking a tumble on icy pavements resulting in a badly grazed/cut knee and no running for a couple of weeks whilst it started to heal properly. I was therefore behind most others on the map initially. In true runners’ fashion I soon started picking off others. The first target was to knock off the odd 111 miles and then look to reduce the remaining distance 100 miles at a time. Approaching the run this way helped rather than look at the 1,111 miles in its entirety. It was whilst plodding through these miles that I rediscovered the joys of solo running and just having a vague idea of a route and making it up as I went along, often seeking out a hill or two to shuffle up. I also noticed that I was getting stronger and a tad quicker. Loved it!

The virtual run was divided into four sections, with a medal coming through the post when we reached certain “places” on the route around Lake Superior. So…..double incentive of reaching medal earning places around the lake and overtaking other runners!

Due to not being able to mix with other families, we were unable to look after our grandchildren, allowing me to add a second long run into the week. This soon manifested in running weekly mileage that I hadn’t run since my heyday in the 1980/90s. I soon found myself in the top few runners, both mileage wise and elevation wise (I do live in Rayleigh after all!!!!).

But……………….I could not catch Anne, who drifted ahead further and further as the run went on!!!!!

As the year ticked by I was hitting those 100 mile targets, finally reaching the 1,000 mile mark. It was like passing the 20 mile mark in a marathon – psychologically hitting a landmark and knowing there isn’t much left and you are going to achieve your objective. Just 111 miles to go!

These last few miles soon went, and I planned the final run to pass the 1,111 miles, completing it on July 25th. Highest mileage I have ever done in about 7 months!

Challenge Completed!

p.s. I signed up to do the return but am the back marker as started after everyone else and have lost almost a month due to the injury. Never fear, I will reach the end before the deadline next April.

If you wish to donate, this is the link

News Round Up – We’ve been Busy!

A message to our supporters

As the current “lockdown” draws to an end , we thought it was an appropriate time to bring you up to date with what’s been happening over the last few months. First of all a massive thank you to everyone who has donated. Whether that has been in support of a fundraiser, via one of the lockdown events or an ad hoc donation, you have made everything we have achieved possible.

Keith Passingham at the start of his first Seven Wonders Challenge

Our main event was the FLF virtual relay for Southend area running clubs, which was a great success with 390 runners raising c£2,200. Southend AC were the narrow winners from Leigh on Sea Striders and Pitsea RC. We awarded the winners a portable defibrillator for them to have available at their run meets etc.

Rhys Gillard receives a portable defibrillator on behalf of Southend AC

At the beginning of our financial year (November 20) we set a fundraising target of £10,000 which we are close to achieving already. It was also our intention to ensure that we, at the very least, agreed enough grants to match that sum. We are delighted that we have actually surpassed that objective as we have agreed 20 grants to date totalling c£11,200. These grants have been to Running , Football, Cricket, Basketball, Fishing, & Martial Arts clubs in the South Essex area as well as to local Event organisers in support of medical facilities. We have provided funding ranging from the purchase of kit for youth teams to providing a number of new portable defibrillators. Hawkwell Junior parkrun and Meridian Kung Fu have benefitted from such.

Annette de Florinier of Meridian Kung Fu Thorpe Bay receives a portable defibrillator

Additionally a few weeks ago we were delighted to support Run Free Official as sponsors of their 20 team Football tournament in aid of South Essex Mind.

BKS Reserve Team, participants in the Run Free Official Tournament, wearing their new kit

We have been supported by some other magnificent personal challenges. Annette de Florinier of Meridian Kung Fu Thorpe Bay did a virtual cycle in the Southend area, which was the equivalent of the distance from Westcliff to Ben Nevis. Julia Elston of Flyers Southend is running 53 miles during July in memory of her father. Between them they have raised over £1000.

We are grateful to a number of runners who are taking part in this October’s London Marathon and are raising funds for us. We will keep you posted on their efforts.

Thanks again for your support, we can’t do it without you. Looking forward, Covid restrictions allowing, we have three quizzes planned and don’t forget our Chairman will be completing his fundraising challenge!

Thanks once more for your support and please continue to do so!

The Trustees

Annette Completes Cycling Challenge

Congratulations and a very big thank you to Annette de Florinier of Meridian Kung Fu Thorpe Bay. During June, Annette took on the daunting challenge of cycling the equivalent distance of Southend to Ben Nevis (500 miles). Annette cycled this distance around the Southend area, maybe you spotted her on her travels!

Thank you so much on behalf of all the trustees of the Finish Line Fund. We love that having by received a portable defibrillator from us, you will be helping other organisations to benefit too.

Meridian Kung Fu receive Portable Defibrillator

This afternoon trustee, Anne Purdham, presented Annette de Florinier with a portable defibrillator for use in her classes as an instructor at Meridian Kung Fu. Annette teaches in various locations in the Southend area.

Annette said “A big thank you to the Finish Line Fund for fully funding this portable defibrillator which can be used for both adults and children. I hope that we never need to use this, but it is very reassuring to know that this extremely valuable life saving piece of equipment will be part of our 1st Aid Kit for every lesson. Thank you 😊🙏 Sifu Annette”

The Finish Line Fund is delighted that Annette is fund raising for us by cycling the distance from Westcliff to Ben Nevis during June. Annette’s Just Giving page can be found at

Inter Club Relay

A massive thanks to everyone who supported the charity in the Virtual relay.
390 runners covering 1,345 miles and Southend AC coming out on top.
We are overwhelmed with the support and will update with a final fundraising total in due course and also detail where our latest grants have been donated too.

Thanks again to all of our wonderful supporters.


We are pleased to announce that we have had a great response from Southend area running clubs to this event and are looking forward to providing runners with the opportunity to both compete for their clubs and in turn support the charity.

Given the success we had in defibrillator installations in 2020, we thought it appropriate to award the winning club with a portable defibrillator, for use at their runs and events.

Runners will run in half hour slots from 8am to 6pm in a Covid friendly manner with the winning club being determined by a combination of the average distanced travelled and number of completed runs.

Benfleet RC, Flyers Southend, Hockley Trail Runners, Leigh on Sea Striders, Pitsea RC, REDs, Southend AC and South Woodham Runners have all confirmed they will be taking part.

If you need any further information, please contact you club representative.

Good luck to everyone taking part.

New Merchandise Store

The Finish Line Fund’s new merchandise store is now up and running with orders already being placed.

If you fancy a swanky new shirt, snood or a snazzy umbrella (other items are available) click on the merchandise tab and have a look.

Thanks to Carly at Dandelion Prints for producing our items.


It was a busy year for the charity in 2020.

Despite Covid 19 severely restricting live fundraising event opportunities, the Charity was successful in exceeding its fundraising budget of £13,000 set in April 2019 for the period to 31st October 2020. Many thanks to everyone who contributed and made that happen.

This success was due in the main to the extremely successful use of online campaigns via Just Giving.

One of these, a marathon campaign by one of the trustees has raised c£3,000, whilst a specifically targeted campaign to raise funds for a defibrillator for East Beach, Southend-on-Sea raised c£1,500

In early 2020, the Charity agreed to work with Southend Council to raise funds for the installation of two defibrillators on Southend-on-Sea seafront. These being two of the first three installed anywhere on the seafront.

Installation was completed at Jubilee Beach in July 2020 and East Beach in September 2020. These being full public access facilities, making the seafront a safer place for locals and visitors alike.

Additionally, the Charity has provided a defibrillator for a local race organiser to use at their events and has also agreed a strategy to focus on funding similar facilities for other clubs within the area where applicable.

A number of grants were made to race organisers and clubs for equipment and to cover the cost of medical facilities at events. Given the pandemic, some of these grants will roll over into 2020/21.

In addition to the provision of three defibrillators as detailed, another key achievement was to fund the set-up costs (£3,000) of a second parkrun in Southend-on-Sea at Chalkwell Beach. This successfully launched in March 2020, being attended by 953 runners during the first three weeks, before the lockdown struck.

2021 has already seen us agree four more grants to local sports clubs and we reiterate once more how grateful we are to all our supporters.


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