A GRATEFUL mum whose daughter is now dancing after fears she would never walk is back to take on this year's OX5 with her hive of bee recruits.

Julia Spargo, from Bicester, has been running the five-mile fundraiser since just months after her daughter Beth Lee was born eight years ago.

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She had a cleft palate, dislocated hips and breathing problems and doctors were not sure she would ever walk properly.

But thanks to a hip operation and regular visits to Oxford Children's Hospital Beth is now playing tennis, doing ballet and swimming.

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Miss Spargo’s eldest daughter Amalia Lee, now aged 11, also had two kidney operations when she was a toddler.

She said: "The hospital staff have been incredible and the OX5 has been a great chance to give something back.

"I started doing the race with a friend and it has grown from there."

The 41-year-old assembled a team of 60 'bees' for the 2017 run and raised more than £7,000 for the children’s hospital.

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This year’s team, who will wear distinctive yellow t-shirts with bees on them, have already raised more than £1,000 on JustGiving.

She said: “I’m not sure how many we have this year so far.

“It kind of organises itself at this point as so many people know about it. There are a core group and then people who see it on social media and decide to take part that year."

She added: “I have said that if I get it to 100 people taking part with Beth's Bees then I'll run the race in an inflatable bee costume, which will be quite difficult to move in."

Oxford Mail:

Beth Lee with her mum Julia Spargo when she started ballet in 2015

The Oxford Mail OX5 Run will, once again, take runners around a five-mile course at Blenheim Palace on Sunday, March 29.

Fundraisers can walk, jog or run the event, sponsored by Allen Associates, all in aid of supporting Oxford Children’s Hospital.

Last year’s was one of the best ever for the OX5 with 1,100 runners raising £150,000 for the children’s hospital.

All money raised goes towards improving equipment and care at the Headington hospital, the children’s ward at the Horton General Hospital and the Paediatric Critical Care Unit.

Joe Baker, from Oxford Hospital Charity, said: “We are delighted that Julia and her team of bees are back for another fantastic event.

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“Each year this team create a real ‘buzz’ and we love their enthusiasm, dedication and passion for helping make a real difference to poorly children in hospital.”

He added: “It’s not too late to sign up and make a difference to the Oxford Children’s Hospital, Critical Care and Children’s Ward at the Horton General, we all know someone who has used the services of these areas, and the five mile fundraiser is a great way of giving a little something back.”

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Julia Spargo

Those who sign up by February 29 can take advantage of an early bird discount, which lowers the entry cost to £20.

After that it will cost £25 to sign up.

Miss Spargo said for anyone thinking about taking part they should 'just do it'.

She explained: "You don't have to be really fit, my 72-year-old mum walks the course each year and she absolutely loves it. The grounds are beautiful and if the weather is good it's an amazing morning."

She added: "The atmosphere is so great and it's just a really nice way to give something back to the hospital charity. Every little helps and before you know it they have funded lots of things."

Visit hospitalcharity.co.uk/ox5run