A former Wolves employee who took up running after the death of a much-loved colleague is taking on this year’s London Marathon in his memory to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
Karen Salt, 46, from Ettingshall Park, is a member of the Sedgley Striders running club, and was fortunate to land her place in the big race via their annual ballot.
She will be running in memory of former long-serving Wolves’ programme editor and club historian John ‘Foz’ Hendley, who passed away suddenly at the age of 68 at the start of last year after suffering a heart attack.
“Anyone who knows or worked with Foz will know just what a unique personality that he was,” said Karen.
“Never at his best first thing in the morning, and stubborn as a mule, but a wonderful character who would do anything for anyone, and was so much fun.
“In 13 years working at Wolves over two different spells as Supporter Liaison Officer, on so many occasions in the office we would laugh so much that we cried.
“Foz also lived life to the very full – he loved his football, folk music, trains, not to mention the odd pint or two and the hottest of curries!
“We all thought he was indestructible, and to be honest, when he passed away it made me think about my own health and fitness, especially as I’m not getting any younger!
“I had dabbled with running for a few years, and attended Striders on and off, but finally decided to take it seriously this year, inspired both by Foz’s memory and my friend and running buddy - Lindsey - who sets herself an inspirational challenge every year.
“I have done my first two half marathons, as well as the ‘Cannock Chase Tough 10’, and ‘Suicide Six’ events, and feel privileged to have won the draw to take part in what will be my first ever marathon.
“I know it is going to be tough – probably the toughest thing I have ever done – but I will be thinking of Foz all the way around and can hopefully raise a good amount for the BHF.”
Karl Henry is a former Wolves captain who helped the team win promotion to the Premier League, and worked closely with ‘Foz’ during his seven years at the club.
“Foz is one of those characters which every football club needs,” said Karl.
“He absolutely loved the club, was always supportive of the players, and we all loved him back in return.
“Characters like that who are always on hand with a word of encouragement or a joke or two are essential to keep everyone going, particularly through the tough times.
“In my case we used to have some great conversations and there was a time when he was also giving me guitar lessons!
“Even for those like myself who had left the club, the sudden passing of Foz came as a devastating shock, and I know how much he is still sorely missed by everyone who knew him.
“It is fantastic that Karen is now taking part in the London Marathon in his memory, and I wish her all the best in raising as much money as possible for such a worthy cause.”
The BHF funds research into all heart and circulatory conditions, including heart diseases, stroke and vascular dementia, along with risk factors including diabetes.
In Wolverhampton alone, there are almost 30,000 people living with heart and circulatory conditions, with around 700 people losing their lives to heart and circulatory diseases every year.
The BHF wants a world without these diseases, so is funding vital research to keep hearts beating and blood flowing. Each year, the charity funds £100 million to help find cures and treatments for these conditions.
Ashleigh Mills, BHF’s Fundraising Manager for the Black Country, added: “We wish Karen the best of luck in this year’s London Marathon. It will be a fantastic tribute to ‘Foz’ and we are so grateful that she has decided to raise funds for the BHF.
“We urgently need more people like Karen to help power our life-saving research. That’s why we’re calling on everyone across the UK to support the vital work of the BHF and help us in our mission to beat heartbreak forever.”
Click here to support Karen and the BHF in this year’s Marathon on Sunday, April 28th.
Anyone interested in raising funds for the BHF’s vital research can call Ashleigh Mills on 07741 907023 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.