9 Mar 11

Gold medallist inspires energy staff ahead of London 2012

Paralympian Hazel Robson with some of the EDF Energy staff hoping to raise £10,000 for ParalympicsGB

Paralympic gold medallist Hazel Robson has joined EDF Energy staff in Sunderland to mark the approaching 500-day countdown to the start of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on Tuesday (Mar 15).

In recognition of the countdown, 25 employees from the energy company’s office at Doxford International Business Park, have begun training for BUPA’s Great North Run in September. The group, who admit have many inexperienced ‘non-runners’ amongst them - are aiming to raise £10,000 for EDF Energy’s charity partner ParalympicsGB. The charity is responsible for funding and managing Britain’s teams at the Paralympic Games and Winter Games, as well as having a key role in grassroots disability sport.

Kevin Gatens, EDF Energy’s head of customer services, North East, is one of the 25-strong group attempting the half-marathon.

He said: “It’s been almost 20 years since I last did the Great North Run, but with the build up to London 2012 I felt it was an ideal opportunity to lead by example, get active again and show my support for EDF Energy’s charity partner, ParalympicsGB. To have a gold medallist like Hazel join us has been brilliant and a real inspiration.”

The team are already sharing training plans and running tips and will carry out group training sessions over the next few months.

Beverley Harvey, 29, an EDF Energy customer relations manager, is another employee putting on her running shoes for ParalympicsGB.

She said: “I’ve never run a half-marathon before, so it will be a huge challenge. I’m hoping to raise £1,000 for ParalympicsGB, so when I’ve finished the run I’ll not only have a great sense of personal achievement but will also have raised money for a worthwhile cause.”

31-year old sprinter Hazel Robson already has five Paralympic medals to her name, including a gold medal in the T36 classification women’s 100m at her Paralympics debut in 2000. The Houghton-le-Spring athlete is hopeful that she will be able to add further medals to her collection at next year’s Paralympic Games.

Hazel Robson said: “It’s great to see such support for ParalympicsGB. The money raised will help to ensure that we have the best and most prepared team to compete at the Paralympic Games next year and will hopefully also inspire more young people with a disability to take up sport. I wish the EDF Energy team all the best with their training.”

Alongside its charity partner status, EDF Energy is working with ParalympicsGB with the goal of turning the charity into a truly ‘Green Team’ ahead of 2012. The energy company, the first sustainability partner for the Games, is working with ParalympicsGB to reduce its environmental impact and helping athletes and coaches become more sustainable and save energy and money.