As London Marathon preparation hits the final stretch, Nick Smith MP paid a visit to the inspirational hospice he hopes to make proud on the big day.
With not long to go before the April 22nd race, the Blaenau Gwent MP popped into the day centre for the Hospice of the Valleys, who provide palliative care for more than 500 people every year.
Over a cup of tea and a biscuit, Mr Smith chatted to service users, their families and the volunteers who make the hospice a vital part of the community.
He was also able to pick up his Team Hospice running vest, which he will be wearing proudly for his first ever marathon.
Speaking after the visit, Mr Smith said after months of training it had been an emotional reminder of what he was running for.
“I’ve slogged through the snow, gone through pair after pair of running shoes and been aching while sitting on the front benches in Parliament, but the Hospice deserves all our support”, he said.
“It really hit home talking to people here, people who are coming to terms with their illness but making the most of the time they have with a smile on their face.
“Holding the hospice shirt in my hand was a proud moment. The volunteers and staff here are hardworking and make the Hospice the success it is.
“Getting near the end of the training, it’s a grind. Hours of running at all hours is draining mentally and physically. But this has given me the boost I need to do the job.
“Now I hope I can do them proud”.
Grant Usmar, Chief Executive of the Hospice, said: “We’re very grateful for Nick’s fundraising for the marathon and him coming to see how the money is being spent and who benefits from it. We always need more fund raising -; we have to raise £1m a year to keep it going.”
To donate to Nick’s London Marathon 2018 run for the Hospice of the Valleys, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/NickSmithLondon2018
The Hospice will also be holding a fundraising six mile race on the 22nd April at Parc Bryn Bach, Tredegar. For more information and to register visit http://hospiceofthevalleys.org.uk/event/six-mile-race-2018/