Runners to paint Reading all the colours of the rainbow

Colourful fun at the previous Rainbow Run in Oxford Cereta Drewett

On Sunday June 22, over 1,000 people will be taking part in Reading’s first ever ‘Rainbow Run’ at Prospect Park in Reading to raise money for the local children’s hospice, Helen & Douglas House.

The ‘Rainbow Run’ is a unique event based on the festival of Holi that represents Peace, Life and Happiness which reflects the ethos of Helen & Douglas House. The hospice is a magical place and provides not only vital support but also joy and laughter. Helen & Douglas House Hospice helps families in Berkshire and the surrounding areas, live life to the full even when that life may be short. The charity that supports families with children and young adults with life shortening conditions is aiming to raise £30,000 through this event towards the £5m needed to run the hospice each year.

This unique fun run is just 3km long, so suitable families or individuals from 2 or 80 years old. What makes it unique is that participants will be showered with powered paint from head to toe all the colours of a rainbow during the run – blue, red, orange, green and yellow.

Staff from local organizations are providing volunteers to throw paint at the runners at the paint points, help with marshalling and giving out goodie bags. These organizations include Holiday Lettings, The Ollie Young Foundation, Alphabet, Clearswift and the 99th Reading Beaver Scouts. The Golden Syrup Oak Bars in the goodie bags were kindly donated Quaker Oats based at Theale.

On the day there will be some great entertainment starting at 1000 from Jack FM Berkshire and at 1045 there will be a warm up by Reading zumba instructor Becky Jones, before the run starts at 1100. All participants will receive a specially designed Rainbow medal and goodie bag at the finish line.

One of the teams taking part is Charlie’s Angels in memory of a little boy called Charlie Fry who spent the last 12 days of his 17 day life at Helen & Douglas House in 2012.

Charlie’s father Mark Fry said: “We were recommended Helen & Douglas House by the staff at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, and we’re so glad that they did.

“Charlie had his own room in Helen House where the staff would look after him but Jo and I decided to keep Charlie with us in the accommodation Helen House provided, allowing us to make the most of our time together. The staff would pop in to check on Charlie and were always around if we needed help or a bit of time to ourselves so we had the best of both worlds by being allowed the privacy we wanted as a family but the support we needed to get through such a difficult time.

“Nothing was ever too much trouble for the staff. As well as the excellent care they were giving Charlie they would also be looking after us.”

If you would like to sponsor Charlie’s Angels go to their fundraising page here

Another Rainbow Run runner is Kathi Elliott who lives in Reading and is a fitness instructor at Bradfield College Sports Complex. She said: “We think everyone has a right to the best quality of life possible and especially youngsters, who should be enjoying the most vibrant and vital time of their lives. It is also so important to provide support and respite in a positive environment for families and carers, to help them in the wonderful role they do, day and night, looking after their loved ones. Training for the run is a great and fun way to improve your fitness whilst helping to raise money for this fantastic cause.”

Kaye Carolan Manager of the Helen & Douglas House Charity shop in central Reading has volunteered to help at this event with seven other volunteers from the shop. She ran a painting competition to draw a rainbow with Micklands Primary School in Caversham to display in her shop window. Kaye said: “The Rainbow Run looks set to be a great event. We all felt that we wanted to help in any way we could as Helen & Douglas is such a wonderful charity that we are very passionate about. We are looking forward getting involved and having lots of fun!”

Poppy Hanbury, Activities Fundraiser from Helen & Douglas House who is organizing the event said: “We have had an amazing response to this event. Many of the families who use Helen & Douglas House are taking part as well as staff from the hospice and members of the public. I am sure everyone is going to have a wonderful, crazy and colourful day.”

Helen & Douglas House Hospice have the time and expertise to care for children and young adults with life-shortening conditions and support their families. The two hospice houses offer specialist symptom and pain management, medically-supported short breaks and end-of-life care, as well as counselling and practical support for the whole family.

The charity cares for children, young adults and their families mainly, but not exclusively, from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and parts of London. Helen House opened in 1982 as the world’s first Children’s Hospice. Douglas House opened in 2004 specifically for young adults aged between 16 to 35.

To find out more about Helen & Douglas House Hospice and the work that they do and the support services they provide, visit their website at

Catch up with Xn next week when we’ll have the full story – and pictures – from the colourful event.

Picture: Cereta Drewett