We’re under starter’s orders for the OX5 Run for charity

The Oxford Times: RUNNING: Andy Styles, who used to work as a fundraiser at the Oxford Children’s Hospital, with the team from STL Communications Buy this photo » RUNNING: Andy Styles, who used to work as a fundraiser at the Oxford Children’s Hospital, with the team from STL Communications

AS a former member of staff at Oxford Children’s Hospital, Andy Styles knows how vital it is to raise money for young patients.

The 25-year-old, from Spring Lane, Headington, worked as part of the fundraising team for the hospital.

His job was to input the names and information for each of the 959 entrants who crossed the finish line of the OX5 Run on March 10 this year.

He then helped process the money raised by the runners which was sent to the hospital.

This year’s run netted more than £90,000 to buy equipment for the children’s hospital.

But in his new job at Witney-based company STL Communications, which he started in July, he is recruiting a team of runners to take part.

They are joining in the effort to break the £100,000 fundraising barrier for 2014’s OX5 Run.

Mr Styles said: “I’ve volunteered to help on the morning, too, as well as running it.

“Last year the amount raised was fantastic, and what they do with it is absolutely amazing.

“I worked there for a long time and when you see some of the things they do there and the state-of-the art equipment they buy it is so worthwhile.”

The OX5 Run is a five-mile run around the grounds of Blenheim Palace in Woodstock.

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The event, which is organised by the Oxford Mail and sponsored by Allen Associates, is now in its 12th year.

After the success of this year’s run the hospital bought two open incubators for babies in the paediatric intensive care unit, and an ultrasound machine for minimally invasive surgery.

The money is also funding a 3-D pain distraction system, which calms and relaxes children during painful physiotherapy and rehab sessions.

It is also paying for a pro-magnetic cell sorting machine to separate cells from the blood using a magnet.

The state-of-the-art machine will be used for a research project into childhood immunisation by the Oxford Vaccine Group.

Researchers are hoping the machine will help them find new ways to protect children from life-threatening illnesses like meningitis and septicaemia.

At least 12 members of staff at STL Communications, in Station Lane, are planning to sign up for the run.

A group of 12 from the company also took part this year.

Among them is managing director Brendon Cross.

He said: “STL Communications are again looking forward to entering a team in the OX5 Run 2014, and raising money for such a worthwhile cause in the Oxford Children’s Hospital, a charity we have supported for a few years.

“In 2014 we have a few quick runners, and we think we could do well in the Corporate Cup.”

The next run is on Sunday, March 30, starting at 10.30am.

Hospital spokesman Sarah Vaccari said: “Andy Styles has played a very big part in the OX5 Run over the last five years, both behind the scenes and as a runner. So the fundraising team is thrilled that he is taking part again, this time with his new colleagues at STL.

“Putting a team of workmates together is a really fun way of taking part in the run, and there are lots of cups to be won for those with the competitive edge.

“But most importantly this is a way for local companies to show their support for a very special local cause.”

sTo find out more or to enter, visit hospitalcharity.co.uk/ox5run

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