NO fewer than 11 runners will be legging it at this year s London Marathon in aid of the North Devon Hospice. Each has a personal reason for running at the event on April 13 . And all 11 have been busy pounding the streets of North Devon to achieve a lif

NO fewer than 11 runners will be legging it at this year's London Marathon in aid of the North Devon Hospice.Each has a personal reason for running at the event on April 13 . And all 11 have been busy pounding the streets of North Devon to achieve a lifelong dream and to raise bags of cash for their local hospice.The lucky runners - from Torrington, Yarnscombe, Barnstaple, Bideford, Braunton, Georgeham, South Molton and Okehampton - earned their place on the starting grid either by winning a hospice "Gold Bond" place, or through this year's ballot. Gold Bond runner Ben Gamble said it had always been a lifelong ambition to run the London Marathon."I'm running in memory of my Nan, June Gamble, who died of cancer four years ago," said Ben, who works at Edmundson's in Barnstaple.Matthew Lund, a physiotherapist at North Devon District Hospital, is also holding a fund-raising quiz night at the Ring O'Bells, Prixford, on Monday; and a charity tennis tournament at Tarka Tennis on Sunday, April 6.Julie Shapland and friend Claire Campbell, of South Molton, also won coveted 'gold bond' places. Julie, who took part for the hospice in 2006, will also be running with dad Stan, who was diagnosed and successfully treated for bowel cancer in March last year.Barnstaple paramedic David Sankey; John Jeffries from Bideford; Graham Thomas from Braunton; Iain Stewart from Georgeham; Andrew Thorne, from Okehampton; Tracey Moore, from Yarnscombe and co-runner Wendy Shambrook from Torrington, all won their "tickets to race" after being drawn in the official marathon ballot.Hospice fundraiser, Emma Lowe said: "All the runners are highly motivated and it is so humbling to hear their reasons for completing the gruelling 26.3 miles and raise as much as they can, all to make the lives of local people that much easier. "The money they raise is incredibly important as all our support is provided completely free of charge. "Our focus is being there for all the family and we offer a wide range of services to help patients and their loved ones - the kind of care that medicine alone cannot provide. "We have tremendous admiration for all of them and will be cheering them all the way."If you would like to sponsor any of the runners, telephone Emma on (01271) 347213.