A DEVOTED grandmother is donning her trainers for the first time to take on a half marathon in aid of charity.

Retired Wendy Ellwood, 65, will take on the 13.1 mile Great North Run in September.

She hopes to raise £10,000 for Diamond Blackfan Anaemia, a bone marrow disorder that her 2-year-old granddaughter suffers from.

“I’ve never run in my life but I saw that Diamand Blackfan were looking for volunteers for the Great North Run in December so I started training in January,” said Mrs Ellwood, from Staveley.

The mother-of-two’s granddaughter Heidi was only diagnosed six months ago with the disorder of the bone marrow.


The bone marrow malfunctions and fails to produce enough red blood cells carrying oxygen to the body’s tissue.

“Heidi has struggled since birth - she’s never eaten or drank properly and she’s very small.

“But she’s very bright and still a happy little thing,” she continued.

Heidi, who lives in Kent with her father and Mrs Ellwood’s 36-year-old daughter Georgie Ashmore, is now waiting for a transfer from Great Ormand Street to St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, for specialist treatment.

Despite starting off with a target of £400, it has now been raised to £10,000 thanks to a £5,000 donation from The Marjorie and Edgar Knight Charitable Trust.

And Mrs Ellwood is already well on her way to target with about £5,406 collected so far.

Having started her fitness programme in January, she is now running at least three miles every other day and has so far reached the eight mile mark, but is pushing for ten in the next month.

“I’ve got till September 7 to build up to my goal of 15 minute miles,” added Mrs Ellwood.

For more information and to donate visit www.justgiving.com/Wendy-Ellwood1