Community backs local volunteer as he gears up for 81st long distance race

Volunteer van driver Gurbir Singh Parmar, also known as Arnie, is set to run his 81st long distance race as he prepares for the London Marathon on 3 October.

Arnie in his old Leonard Cheshire running vest

This will be the fourth time he has run the marathon in the capital, and the third time he will be running it for pan-disability charity Leonard Cheshire. 

62-year-old Arnie is a volunteer van driver for Leonard Cheshire’s Symonds House care home in Hitchin and has worked with disabled people for many years. 

“I ran my first half marathon at the age 52 and in the last ten years have completed 80 half marathons, full marathons, 20 mile races and 10k races,” explained Arnie. “With the marathon being postponed due to Covid, I’m really looking forward to getting back out there and giving it my all for a charity that has meant a lot to me over the years!”

Arnie is looking to raise £1,500 for Leonard Cheshire and has the support of the local community in Hitchin behind him, including a generous sponsorship of £500 from Nisa local in Woolgrove Road in Hitchin.

Gagandeep Singh, proprietor of the Nisa local said:

“We at Nisa on Woolgrove road are proud to sponsor Arnie Parmar as he is raising money for a very worthy cause that is close to our heart. We know that Arnie raises money for Leonard Cheshire regularly and volunteers his time for the charity too. His enthusiasm, along with the fact that the money is going to be spent in our local community, means it is a pleasure for us to sponsor him.”

Leonard Cheshire supports disabled people worldwide and runs care homes, supported living facilities and services for disabled people across the UK.

Marcus Missen, Executive Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Leonard Cheshire, said:

“It’s incredibly exciting to have Leonard Cheshire runners attending the first full-participation London Marathon since 2019 and we’re absolutely thrilled to have 48 runners taking part in this flagship event. Our supporters are crucial in helping us continue our work around the world and we are so grateful and proud of all the runners in Team Leonard Cheshire.”

People can support Arnie in his marathon efforts by visiting his donation page.

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For further information please contact Erin O’Reilly via erin.o’