IT MIGHT not be taking place in the grounds of Blenheim Palace this year but people are still getting ready to lace up to run the OX5 on their own.

The annual Oxford Children’s Hospital fundraiser, which brings in vital funds to help families across Oxfordshire and beyond, had to be cancelled due to coronavirus.

But an army of dedicated supporters will run, walk or jog five miles - individually - on Sunday from home to make sure Oxford Hospitals Charity doesn't miss out on the money.

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Among them will be Julia Spargo, from Bicester, who is thanking ‘amazing’ NHS staff who helped her daughter who is now dancing despite fears she would never walk.

When Beth Lee was born eight years ago 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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Parents Lynne and Tom Hammond, meanwhile, from Woodstock, are running to show their appreciation for staff at the hospital who saved two of their children's sight.

The couple were already grateful for NHS staff who looked after their six-year-old daughter Eliza when she was diagnosed with children’s cataracts in January 2015 and had just 10 per cent vision. She underwent three major eye operations to remove the lens from her eye and have it replaced with a clear plastic lens called an intraocular lens.

Their son Charlie was then also diagnosed with the same condition when he was born almost a year ago and within two months the newborn was undergoing the same operations as his big sister.

The ‘biggest team ever’ from OX5 sponsors Allen Associates, will also be separately taking on the challenge on Sunday.

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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 Hospitals Charity, said: "With everything that is going on right now, it would be very easy to forget that our OX5 Run for the children's hospital would have been taking place this Sunday. We want to say a massive thank you to all those who have been training, fundraising and supporting this very special event."

He added: "So if you are able and wish to do a run, walk or jog that complies with all the current guidelines - whether in your home, garden, on a treadmill or on your own in your local area - we would love for you to 'join' the charity and Oxford Mail through our social media, and send a picture in for the paper.

"Every penny raised helps us make a real and lasting difference to thousands of patients treated at the Oxford Children's Hospital each year. And we are so grateful to all those who continue to support the children's hospital through this unprecedented time."

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  • Send pictures to or share via #OX5Run and we will feature them online and in Monday's paper.