FUNDRAISING NEWS: Marathon names charity partners

The British Heart Foundation and Sense, the charity for people who are deafblind or have associated disabilities, have been selected from 40 applicants to be the official charities of the Flora London Marathon 2004, heralding a return to the tradition of having two official charities.

Shelter was the sole official charity for the 2003 marathon. But the 2004 event, which will take place on 18 April, sees a return to the usual practice where one charity is chosen by title sponsor Flora and the other is selected by the directors of London Marathon Limited.

This year Flora chose the British Heart Foundation because the heart and health theme ties in with its corporate image, and the marathon directors selected Sense because they were impressed by the charity's proposal for an innovative new information service.

"This means a great deal to us," said Paul Amadi, director of fundraising at Sense. "At the moment there is a dearth of information on deafblindness - we hope to create a comprehensive library and web site."

The association will benefit the charities substantially if the relationship follows recent trends. Over the past few years, the race's official charities have made up to £2 million from the event. Although the final figures are still being calculated, Shelter is on target to reach £1.2 million from its association with the race this year.

"A couple of years ago, Children with Leukaemia raised almost £2 million by the time Gift Aid was factored in, and others have raised around £1 million," said David Galton, company secretary and treasurer at London Marathon Limited.

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