Challenge for Dorchester marathon runners as new charity partnership announced

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By LarmerTree | Thursday, April 05, 2012, 16:36

Dorset-based Larmer Tree Festival is extremely pleased to announce its first ever charity partner - the MS Society.  To kick start fundraising, 60-year old founder and Co-Director of the festival, James Shepard, will be running this year's London Marathon in aid of the charity. 


To mark the occasion James is throwing down the gauntlet and challenging any marathon racers from Dorchester to beat his time.  If they do they'll be in with a chance of winning a pair of five-day festival tickets as well as a luxurious stay in a Hotel Bell Tent at the festival - worth more than £800.  Plus, for local people not running but wanting to enter the fundraising spirit there's also another pair of festival tickets and a stay in a Hotel Bell Tent up for grabs.


James Shepard said:  "A really close friend of mine has been living with this devastating condition for over 10 years.  By running the marathon and making the MS Society the festival's charity partner for 2012, we can raise awareness of the condition and the charity's great, life enhancing work.


"As a local festival we've always supported local fundraising initiatives by donating tickets as prizes for raffles and events.  This year we're going a step further and raising funds for my friend, and people touched by MS alike, so please support us and donate to my fundraising website today."


The Larmer Tree Festival team has pledged to raise £5,000 over the next five months for the MS Society, which provides specialist care, practical advice and support to people affected by multiple sclerosis in the UK.  The charity also funds independent research into finding effective treatments and ultimately a cure.  As part of the partnership, the festival team will also be auctioning off merchandise signed by headliners such as Jools Holland, Levellers, Tim Minchin and Amadou & Mariam after the event.


For Marathon runners interested in challenging James and being in with a shot at scooping this great prize, all they need to do is donate a minimum of £10 to his fundraising website -  They'll then receive an e-mail with a link to the competition.  The deadline for entering is Friday 20th April.  To make it fair, there will be an age handicap of two minutes added to runners' times for every year younger than James they are.  Anyone that beats him will be entered into our prize draw.


For those not running, they can donate a minimum of £10 to James' fundraising website -  They'll then receive an e-mail with a link to enter our 'Guess James Marathon Time' competition.  The person who is closest to his time wins the prize. 


Gemma Turner of the MS Society said:  "We are delighted to be supported by Larmer Tree Festival and look forward to working together."


Set in the magnificent Larmer Tree Pleasure Gardens, the festival's diverse bill of music and comedy attracts 4,000 people each day.  It showcases six stages with over 70 diverse and eclectic artists, cutting edge comedians, quirky street theatre, 150 free workshops, spoken word and much, much more. 


For a glimpse of the Larmer experience and to see this year's line-up so far visit  To read more about the MS Society go to



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