Rugby players take on marathon challenge to say thank you to hospice

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Two rugby players have completed their first ever marathon challenge to raise £1,431 for a Doncaster hospice charity.

Wakefield Trinity player Leanne Candler, aged 23, from Doncaster was one of 10,000 runners who took part in the 2023 Leeds Rob Burrows Marathon in May, in memory of her father Neil Candler, who was cared for by St John’s Hospice in Balby.

She was joined by her partner Ben Nicholson, aged 28, from Wakefield, who also plays for Wakefield Trinity and was part of the England team crowned winners of the first-ever Physical Disability Rugby League World Cup in 2022.

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Leanne said: “We wanted to say thank you to the staff at St John’s Hospice for the support they gave my dad and our whole family.

Pictured (left to right) Ben Nicholson, Hospice Fundraiser Maureen Harwood and Leanne Candler.Pictured (left to right) Ben Nicholson, Hospice Fundraiser Maureen Harwood and Leanne Candler.
Pictured (left to right) Ben Nicholson, Hospice Fundraiser Maureen Harwood and Leanne Candler.

“From the Specialist Palliative Care Team, who supported him at home, to the Inpatient Team who cared for him at the Hospice, we are extremely grateful for the way they worked together to give him the best possible care, when he needed it most, as well as ensuring we were able to spend as much time as possible with him; they looked after us all so well.”

She added: “We never expected to raise so much money, so we’d like to thank everyone who sponsored us, it was a real challenge, as we didn’t have time to do as much training as we would have liked, and the course was extremely hilly!

“We’re really proud to have completed it and be able to donate so much to St John’s Hospice!”

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Hospice Fundraising Assistant, Maureen Harwood said: “What a fantastic achievement!

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to Leanne and Ben for completing such an enormous challenge to raise funds to St John’s Hospice.

“Every penny they’ve raised will go towards helping other local patients and families who need our care in the future.”

St John’s Hospice is run by Rotherham Doncaster & South Humber NHS Trust (RDaSH).

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RDaSH provides a range of mental health, learning disability, drug and alcohol, hospice and community health services across Rotherham, Doncaster and North Lincolnshire.

For more information on how to support St John’s Hospice, please visit the website at

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