The Great North Run on September 8th sees another team of runners don their trainers in aid of Sporting Memories.

We caught up with Sporting Memories Ambassador and International Editor of Autosport - Jack Benyon, runner Steve Sharp and Louise Turkington  - wife of the reigning BTCC champion Colin about their fundraising and involvement with the charity and wanting to help by taking part in the Great North Run

What made you decide to run in aid of Sporting Memories?

Steve: I have seen Sporting Memories from the beginning to what it has become today. It is a privilege to help raise funds and spread awareness for this cause. Sporting Memories is such a fantastic charity.  I have played competitive sport for over 40 years and have seen the benefits that sport brings to people’s well-being and mental health.  The ability to help fund further classes and meetings means a lot to me. Having seen the benefits that the charity provides, I think the training and pain of the race will be worth it. 

Jack Benyon: Put simply, Paul O’Neill signed me up and I didn’t get a choice! I’m an ambassador for Sporting Memories and will always help the charity in anyway I can. I really believe in what the charity offers. It’s run by great people – not a big corporation – and I volunteer at one of its monthly groups in London, I’ve seen first hand what Sporting Memories offers and how it helps people.

Louise: I was looking for a challenge this year and when Paul O’Neil called and asked, I couldn’t say no.  The whole idea of what the charity does sits so well with me.  I am all about making memories in life, and the very idea of losing the things I value most is terrifying.  I want to be able to help in some small way.

To support Jack please text JACK to 70085 to donate £5 or visit our Great North Run page.

Have you ever personally known anyone suffering from dementia, depression or loneliness? 

Louise: I experienced severe depression myself as a young adult when I tragically lost my older sister.  Memories of her are all I have left.  You cannot imagine how precious these memories are to me.  I also know just how difficult it is to see outside of that black hole and how much mental training it takes to even ‘want’ to see outside of it.  If we can raise enough money to help just one life, then it is totally worth it for me.

Steve: I have personally witnessed the effects of depression and loneliness during my work with the police force,  I see and deal with people from all walks of life who suffer in the same way whether they have nothing in life or seem to have everything you could ask for. Dementia has also played a big part in my personal life. A very close friend and work colleague was affected by the illness, he was hard working and a keen sportsman and seeing him deteriorate to the man he was before he passed away was heart-breaking. 

To support Louise please text LOUISE to 70085 to donate £5 or visit our Great North Run page.


What are your thoughts about the charity and its work? 

Jack: Last year I ran for my Grandad, who has Alzheimer’s and is in full time care. This year I’m running for my Nain (Welsh for Nan/Grandma, who is from Barnsley, don’t ask!) who passed away two years ago. I’ll be using the hashtag #ForNain alongside those of the charity.

Louise: I love the ethos of the charity and I feel that it’s approach to helping people can be one that expands and grows beyond its wildest dreams. Sport unites people, it gives them a purpose and it helps people to believe in themselves.  I’ve been involved in sport all my life and at one point pre-depression, was pursuing a career in showjumping.  I love the mental side of sport and the power of the mind in performance.  Utilising this to help those less fortunate with health is just the best idea!

Steve: The way the charity uses sporting memorabilia to help people remember and reminisce about their life is wonderful. Seeing it first-hand, I have seen how the participants reignite memories from  particular times in their past. 

To support Steve please text STEVE to 70085 to donate £5 or visit our Great North Run page.

Follow Our Fundraisers and follow their stories on Twitter 

Louise Turkington @misslouiserob

Steve Sharp @smadgerman 

Jack Benyon @jackbenyon (and Instagram)