Fundraising St Catz student

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St Catz students and alumni took part in an Edinburgh-to-London relay race last week, in memory of a former student.

The event was held to raise money for a charity founded in memory of Human Sciences student Emilie Harris, who was killed by a bus whilst cycling in Oxford in 2004. This is the first time the race has been run in her memory.

The relay was part of a nationwide event, which began in Edinburgh on the 2nd May, passed through Oxford, and terminated at St Paul’s Cathedral in London last Monday.

Bank holiday Monday saw the baton being passed to six current St Catz students, who each ran legs of between five and ten miles of the 450-mile-long race.

Many of the participants completed their legs in fancy dress, including Emilie’s father, Martin Harris, who accompanied the runner dressed as Elmo.

Ben Trigg, Jamie Shadbolt, James Taylor and Gabriel Tiplady began the College’s involvement, running a celebratory leg from the outskirts of Oxford to the quad, accompanied by some of Emilie’s contemporaries. Jamie Shadbolt explained: ”As I’m the Captain of the College Athletics team, when I heard that our present Charities Officer, Danny Smith, was working with the charity on the Oxford legs of the relay I was eager to represent the College and participate”.

He added: ”A small Catz contingent met up with the main relay group on St Giles, before the group of Catz students, alumni and family ran a loop around the city and into Catz.

Ben Trigg also commented on his motivation for taking part. He said: ”Emilie’s Charities has always had a big presence in St Catz JCR, and I felt that taking part in the relay was an opportunity for me to make a small contribution towards helping the legacy to continue”. He added that ”Given the distance some of the others in the relay had already managed, it was the least we could do to run out and bring them home to Catz!”

Professor Roger Ainsworth, Master of St Catherine’s, also showed his support for the event by cycling laps of the College quad as the runners set off on a route through the city centre.

Emilie’s Charities, which was founded by Emilie’s family and friends after her death, works to support projects involving under-privileged children and young adults in developing countries, including Bolivia, Nigeria and Nepal. Since its founding, St Catz JCR has played an active role in supporting it, donating half of its annual fundraising to the charity.

Martin and Judy Harris, Emilie’s parents and trustees of Emilie’s Charities, commented on the “joyous spirit of the race”. They added that: ”it is really wonderful what the students have achieved in Emilie’s name”

Previous fundraisers have included annual bike rides and charity picnics.

As well as the relay itself, a barbecue was held all afternoon at St Catz attended by Emilie’s friends, which raised £250 in total. Daniel, current St Catz Charity Rep, said that the event was “a great team effort by members of St Catz past and present”, and that “the sun shone and there was a celebratory atmosphere.”

He added: ”Catz continues to hold a strong link with Emilie’s Charities, an excellent cause furthered by the personal connection to the college.”

The event has raised nearly £30,000 so far. Donations can continue to be made until 1st July, at: http://mydonate.bt.com/events/emiliesrelay/