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Les Dewart from Moira, who took part in one of the world's most famous long distance races in memory of his late father, is continuing his fundraising efforts for Age NI with a successful bag pack and door collection at Sainsbury’s Sprucefield.

Les, a Talent Consultant at Sport NI (pictured below with his late father Robert and family pet Wendy), said, 'I ran the London Marathon this year in honour of my dad, Robert Dewart who attended Laurelhill, an Age NI day centre in Lisburn. The centre supports people to live well with dementia, and their families. I wanted to show my appreciation for the help and support provided by the care workers and volunteers. They enabled my dad to maintain his independence and enjoy an active and fulfilling later life.' 

Les Dewart London marathon runner for Age NI, late father Robert and family pet Wendy

'My father, who sadly passed away in February 2015, experienced strokes in his mid sixties which severely affected his short term memory. He started going to Laurelhill on the Ballymacash Road and looked forward to his weekly visits there.'

'He was looked after by Myrtle Johnston, day centre manager, and Bobby Brown, care worker and driver. He loved going on day trips and outings. He was always chatting about the places he’d been, the people he’d met and the friends he’d made. He also enjoyed taking part in the challenging games and fun activities – they helped to keep his mind active and stimulated.'

'My father was an amazingly kind gentleman with an exceptional long term memory. He travelled the length and breadth of the country as a Sales Engineer. I miss and think about him every day. Dad was my parachute - he caught me every time. He always encouraged me in life especially in pursuit of my sporting achievements. I’ve so much to be thankful to him for.'

Les was also motivated to take up his marathon challenge thanks to Rosalind Cole, Age NI Fundraising and Community Events Officer. Les said, 'The help I received from Rozi has been amazing – her enthusiasm, energy and ongoing support really inspires me.'

Rosalind, commented, 'Age NI is delighted that Les ran the London Marathon for Age NI. He has made a tremendous contribution by raising £2321.26. We greatly appreciate his continued efforts and would like to thank everyone who has kindly made a donation to help Les reach, and exceed, his fundraising target of £2,000. Laurelhill day centre is an important part of the local community in Lisburn, providing services and activities that support people with dementia to lead healthy, active and independent later lives. We hope that Les’ story will inspire others to take up a challenge for Age NI so that we can continue to provide vital services for older people, their families and carers, across Northern Ireland.'

London marathon fundraiser Led Dewart and Age NI's Dorothy McConkey during Sainsburys Sprucefield bag pack

Les, who was accompanied on the run by close family friend Derek Forbes, added, 'My fundraising is continuing to go well. I’ve had tremendous support from local people and local businesses in Lisburn and Belfast including Sainsbury’s Sprucefield (pictured during bag pack and door collection with Age NI's Dorothy McConkey). Badminton coaching sessions, an Easter ballot, car boot sales and a coffee morning at work were also fundraising highlights - thanks to everyone for their support.'

To make an online donation, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Leslie-Dewart1

For more information about events and challenges, contact 028 9024 5729, fundraising@ageni.org or visit www.ageni.org/fundraisingevents

For more information: Contact Age NI: Freephone 0808 808 7575