BUSINESSES are being called upon to team up for the OX5 Run and raise money for Oxford Children’s Hospital.

So far 24 firms from across the county have signed up for the five-mile run in the grounds of Blenheim Palace.

The OX5 Run, which is the hospital’s biggest annual fundraiser, last year raised £98,000 for new equipment and medical machinery for the Headington hospital.

Oxford-based recruitment consultants Allen Associates, which sponsors the run, has 11 staff taking part in the March 30 run.

Co-founders of Allen Associates, Kate and Rob Allen, both 52, said although they have been lucky enough not to need the hospital for their own two children, Ben, 25, and Molly, 22, they have met countless clients who have.

Mrs Allen said: “We have had a couple of tours around the hospital and it is heart-warming to meet kids who have benefited from money raised over the years.

“We have only ever worked in Oxfordshire and it is a fantastic way of giving something back.”

Allen Associates staff members Elle Bromage, 39, Hannah Bush, 26, Hannah Mcilvennie, 26, Sarah Parker, 25, Nikky Whittaker, Hannah Burton, 25, Tiffany Way, 22, Jacqui Dalziel, 24, and Freya Alexander, 25, are all braving the Blenheim Palace route.

This year’s OX5 Run, organised by the Oxford Mail, hopes to beat last year’s record by raising more than £100,000.

So far 825 people have signed up – more than double the number at the same stage last year.

Witney-based Audley Travel also has a seven-man team including Mandeep Dhillon, head of human resources and training.

She said: “As a company we are quite focused on team sports and because it is for a local charity on our doorstep we thought every little helps.”

Children’s hospital spokeswoman Sarah Vaccari said: “The support from the local business community for this event is phenomenal and does help to make the OX5 Run a huge success.

“We’d encourage any local companies to think about putting a team of five or more together.

“We are also incredibly grateful to our sponsors Allen Associates.”