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Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance are saying a big thank you to two plucky Nottingham runners, who together with seven others, took on the gruelling 26-mile London Marathon on Sunday 23 April and raised over £23,000 for the charity’s life-saving work.

Nicola Photiou, from Stapleford, received her London Marathon place through Erewash Valley Running Club. She said: “I chose to run for LNAA as it means a lot to our family. Back in November 2015, my dad James Smith collapsed while fishing at Westwood Lakes just outside Boston. The LNAA was called and treated him before the paramedic travelled with him to hospital on the land ambulance. Unfortunately, my dad passed away, but we are forever grateful to the LNAA.”

Running in the marathon is an experience Nicola will never forget. “I can’t say it was easy, but the crowds were amazing and kept me going. I had a photo of my dad on my back and LNAA badges on my front so when things got hard, and emotions were high I touched them to remind me why I was doing it which spurred me on to the finish. I am happy to say I ran over the finish line with my hands in the air and a smile on my face.”

Another Nottingham runner, Sophie Spittlehouse, ran for LNAA in memory of her best friend’s dad, Lee, who sadly passed away earlier in the year. She said: “His partner was incredibly grateful to LNAA for all the family support they gave her following his passing. Support that most people wouldn’t even realise is available.

Sophie SPittlehouse London Marathon LNAA

I work as a nurse and never realised that LNAA only survived through donations, I wrongly presumed it was funded with NHS services. Ensuring LNAA gets funding is crucial but also raising awareness that they are a donation funded service is just as important.”

Both ladies agree that the London marathon was incredible, made more special because they were running it for such a worthy cause. Sophie sums up: “It was great to see a couple of the LNAA runners along the 26.2 miles and having that collected experience for a matter very dear to our hearts for many different reasons.”

Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance (LNAA) Events Lead, Georgia Watson, said: “The runners are an amazing group of people who, for a variety of reasons, chose to run the race in support of our work. The money they have raised will help keep our crew operational, delivering emergency treatment to people in Lincs and Notts when they need it most.”