Cheryl Baker, who won the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest for the United Kingdom as part of Bucks Fizz, is returning to the city where the band had a near fatal coach crash as she prepares to take part in the Great North Run. The 13.1 mile (21 Kilometers) run is to raise money for the Headfirst Charity for which she helped to found. esctoday.com is proud to support the cause and we ask readers to support Cheryl. Here is why:
HeadFirst is a charitable organisation dedicated to the funding and promotion of research into head injuries, stroke and associated brain damage.
esctoday.com spoke to Cheryl about why she decided to participate in the Great North Run. She explained:
"My friend (and godmother to our children) Sue Lovell is a marathon runner. She pleaded with me to do the Prague half-marathon a few years ago, which I agreed to but absolutely hated. It took so long, they had taken in all the markers and I limped in after about 5 hours having just been overtaken by a one-legged man! Honestly! Since then she has constantly been on at me about The Great North Run in Newcastle saying it will be a great experience as it's the biggest half-marathon in the world blah blah blah. Why on earth I agreed to do it this year I have no idea. She must have plied me with too much champagne or something. Anyway, I'm in training, hating every moment of it, but doing it for charity makes it almost worthwhile!!"
Can you tell us a little bit about Headfirst and why you are running for Headfirst?
"As many people may remember, Bucks Fizz were involved in a coach crash back in December 1984 which resulted in Mike Nolan having emergency brain surgery to romove a blood clot. He was left with epilepsy, tunnel vision, mood swings, depression, short-term memory loss, no sense of taste or smell and a change of personality. He went from being the life and soul of the party to almost a recluse. The surgeon who was overseer to Mike's operation, Anthony Strong, told me that, if there had been more research into brain damage, the blood clot that almost destroyed Mike may have been avoided. Headfirst the charity was born. It is totally voluntarily run so every pound raised goes towards helping people like Mike who have suffered brain damage caused through accident, stroke or disease. It is run by 5 dedicated trustees, including Anthony Strong and me".
How much training are you putting in and how tough are you finding it?
"I am running 3 times a week, one gentle run of about 2-3 miles, a longer one of 4-5 miles"
Are you planning to 'rip off your skirt' at any point during the run'?
"Oh ha flippin' ha!!"
Cheryl is hoping to raise £2000 for Headfirst, and you can donate now at her fundraising page: www.justgiving.com/Cheryl-Baker
esctoday.com wishes Cheryl all the best with the run.