A METHODIST euphonium player is training to run the London Marathon for a good cause which she says 'melts her heart'.

Heather Wells, 53, from Wantage, never had any interest in the famous race, but has changed her tune to raise money for a Methodist housing association.

Ms Wells, who plays in Wantage Silver Band, says MHA's care homes, which tries to keep elderly couples together, are the best around.

She is also a big supporter of the charity's music therapy for dementia sufferers which it says is making a dramatic impact on residents' wellbeing.

The mum-of-two said: "My gran was going deaf when I was teenager and one of the last things she heard was my playing the clarinet.

"You can see the effect music has on all sorts of people."

Ms Wells has known about MHA and the work it does for years through her position as a steward at Wantage Methodist Church.

But she also has firsthand experience of dementia through her day job.

Ms Wells works as a quality assurance director at pharmaceutical firm Circassia, based at Oxford Science Park, which makes respiratory and allergy medications.

She said: "I have worked in dementia trials but what MHA do just melts my heart, it is the best possible care those people could get.

"They are particularly raising money for a live-at-home scheme which is great because older people, of course, want independence."

The Orchard Way resident, who grew up in West London, is no stranger to exercise: she runs with friends, takes on half marathons and has even run marathons before.

Her first marathon was in Rome in 2010, raising money for Oxford children's hospice Helen and Douglas House.

But she also likes having a bit of space and freedom when running and the idea of elbowing past 30,000 people in the crowded capital did not appeal.

Then last year she watched a friend taking part and she could hold back no longer.

She said: "I thought I would never do it because it's so busy, but my friend's children encouraged me to apply for a ballot place.

"I ended up watching one of our friends and realised – 'I want to do this'.

"The crowds and the atmosphere were amazing and the architecture around London is fabulous, I love it."

She won a charity place to run for MHA which means she has to raise £2,000 minimum for the charity, but she is aiming for £5,000.

The charity's head of community fundraising Jessica Storer said: "It's fantastic that Heather is running for MHA, she is clearly very passionate about the cause.

"All the money she raises will go towards improving the lives of older people across the UK and help us achieve our aim of reducing isolation and loneliness among older people through our activities and projects in local communities."

Sponsor Ms Wells online at justgiving.com/heather-wells7