WellChild chosen for 2007 Marathon

Helen Barrett

WellChild has been chosen as the official charity of the 2007 London Marathon by the organisers of the annual mass run.

The Gloucestershire-based charity, which helps children with chronic illnesses, has set a fundraising target of £1.25m for next year's event.

"We think we demonstrated that we would be able to manage the process well," said Kedge Martin, chief executive of WellChild.

The money will pay for WellChild children's nurses to work in hospitals and hospices, as well as the introduction of a helpline and a website for heath professionals and parents of children with chronic illnesses.

Flora, the marathon's sponsor, has yet to announce its official charity for the 2007 race.

The two official charities for 2006, The Anthony Nolan Trust and the Stroke Association, said online sponsorship had virtually eradicated late payments.

Sites such as Just Giving ask donors to give their credit card details when they pledge money. Donors then choose to donate immediately or after the event. "Of the approximately £1m we have raised, only about £16,000 is pledged to be paid after the event," said a spokeswoman for the Stroke Association.

The Anthony Nolan Trust developed a weekly communication strategy with its runners in the months before the race, which included telephone calls to confirm that fundraising strategies were proceeding according to plan.

- Just Giving said London Marathon runners raised more than £10m for charities through the site this year - up by nearly 30 per cent on 2005's race.

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