Reporter runs marathon to help save Hampstead centre for elderly

Journalist Daisy Jestico will run the London Marathon to raise funds for a Hampstead centre for the elderly threatened with closure.

The 28-year-old, a former reporter at Archant London - publishers of the Ham&High, has ditched the cigarettes and donned her running shoes as she prepares to take on the 26.2 mile endurance test.

She will run in aid of Henderson Court in Fitzjohn’s Avenue and met residents at the centre for the first time last month.

Although a keen a jogger – doing three 10km runs a week to stay in shape – Ms Jestico admitted she is more than a little daunted by the challenge on April 22.

Mrs Jestico, who lives in Greenwich, said: “It’s really quite scary. By the end of the month I have to be up to half marathon standard.

“The thing that scares me the most is the mental challenge. I have run one half marathon before and by the end of it my brain started freezing up and you just feel like you can’t go any further.”

Mrs Jestico, who left Archant London last month after four years as a reporter, has already raised �100 to help Henderson Court Day Centre stay open when funding from Camden Council runs dry in March.

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Henderson Court, run by Age UK, has been open for 40 years and provides everything from poetry classes, to yoga and bingo to people aged over 60 for free or for a nominal charge.

The centre also dishes up 8,500 lunches and hosts 10,000 visitors a year.

The campaign to save it has been offered �80,000 over three years by the Pears Foundation in Hampstead on condition that �25,000 of this can be matched by the community.

Actor Derek Jacobi has backed Age UK’s campaign to help save three resource centres for the elderly across Camden.

Mrs Jestico, who will run the Brighton half marathon in February to test her progress, said: “Hopefully whatever I raise will make a difference and help Henderson Court from closing.

“I went down before Christmas and it was so sweet, with them having their Christmas party. It puts it all into perspective.

“The centre gives them a chance to meet up with friends, otherwise they might have a lack of contact with the outside world.”

To sponsor Mrs Jestico and Henderson Court visit