CHARITIES have been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with countless fundraising events being cancelled and volunteers being unable to devote their time as a result of lockdown measures.

The Covid-19 outbreak resulted in the London Marathon going virtual this year, with thousands of runners across the country completing 26.2 miles in more familiar surroundings rather than travelling into the nation’s capital to be roared on by crowds lining the course.

Among those involved in the contest was Laura Davis.

The 37-year-old pounded the south Essex pavements in a bid to raise funds for Breast Cancer Now, a charity close to her heart due to her friend, Annie Webb, fighting against the disease.

Competing in the virtual London Marathon allowed Laura to raise more than £2,700 for Breast Cancer Now, which filled her with joy.

Southend Standard:

Coastline - the coronavirus pandemic meant Laura Davis ran along Southend seafront instead of the streets of London

She said: “Annie is one of my closest friends. She fights this illness while constantly putting everyone else before her even when you can clearly see she is struggling and suffering which, to me, makes her the most special human being I know.

“To be able to raise so much money means the absolute world to me.

“I would be so proud if it means I can help save someone’s life.

“What’s 26.2 miles compared to everything my dear friend and thousands of other people are going through because of this dreadful illness?”

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Laura ran along Southend seafront as she chalked up 26.2 miles in five hours, 36 minutes and 20 seconds.

She has come a long way in the space of 12 months.

Laura added: “I had such an amazing experience running the virtual London marathon.

“It’s the first marathon I’ve ever competing in. I started running by doing the couch to 5km events last October.

Southend Standard:

Went through the pain barrier - Laura Davis (left) was met by family and friends as she completed the virtual London Marathon

“I ran the marathon with my sister Charlotte, who has been amazing getting me through training in three storms, heatwaves and lockdown.

“Although I hit the infamous marathon wall at mile 17, Charlotte and my husband got me going again.

“We had amazing support from family and friends at different parts, while complete strangers were driving past beeping their horns and cheering us on.

“When we reached the finish line and I heard Annie screaming over everyone else, I cried a lot.

“The pain I felt is nothing in comparison to what millions of women and men are fighting against breast cancer.

“I would do it all over again if it meant saving just one life.”

Every week we will be unveiling our Charity Champions as we look to champion those who raise much-needed funds for charities across south Essex. To nominate yourself for your own fundraising work or to put others forward, simply complete our online form.