Focussed on a Purpose … Jenny keeps on Running

by ACT

  • Posted on November 3, 2017

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For fifteen years, ACT supporters, volunteers and staff have laced up their trainers, stretched their limbs and, despite age, experience or otherwise, have run the ten miles of Portsmouth’s city terrain that makes up the Great South Run, raising critical funds for projects across Africa.

This year, ACT sent 12 runners, ranging from a twenty something journalist to a grandmother coming up to 70 years, an age where you expect most to be resting on their laurels and only cheering on from the side-lines. Not so Jenny Aston. She reached down deep, found the strength and motivation, and ran her fifth Great South Run to raise funds for ACT.

 Jenny came into contact with ACT in a most improbable way: on a 12-hour flight from London to Australia, many years ago now. On that long haul flight, it just so happened that she was sat next to Kunle Onabolu, founder of ACT. Twelve hours later, by which time she had arrived in another continent, Jenny had become a committed supporter of ACT.

She was touched and overwhelmed by how with so little, ACT was doing so much to educate and transform the lives of many disadvantaged children. She decided herself to sponsor a child in Tanzania. Her sponsored child, Lowena Richards was about to complete primary school when her father died. Her mother was unemployed and with two other children to look after, she did not have the means to send her daughter to secondary school. Jenny supported the family with £15 a month which enabled Lowema to go to secondary school. Back in the UK after her travels, she began to share the ACT story among her family and friends in the Midlands where she lives. She also talked about ACT at the local church she attends, helping to raise funds to support more children and grow the ACT family.

Jenny attended a number of ACT events and was particularly interested in the life stories of many of the supported children, whose lives were being transformed through ACT support. At the ACT biennial event in 2008 she met Emmanuel Kanaeli, who ACT had flown from Tanzania to the UK to attend the event. She was fascinated by the story of this boy, who very nearly was denied access to education due to his impoverished circumstances as a fatherless child growing up with a poor mother in Tanga, Tanzania. Overcome, Jenny redoubled her efforts on behalf of ACT, and the following year took part in her first Great South Run to race funds so that ACT could support more children. Emmanuel graduated as a medical doctor in 2013 and now works at the General Hospital in Dar es Salaam.

Meanwhile, her sponsored child, Lowema, completed secondary school and in 2014 graduated from university with a degree in business studies with top grade and is working. Lowema is now able to support her mother and her two younger siblings financially

At nearly 70, Jenny is keen on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and cheered on by her friends and family is raising funds and awareness about ACT, taking part in running events and demonstrating that age is just a number. Her heroic performance and the lives she has touched and helped transformed for the better, make her a genuine role model for all of us.

If you’re inspired by Jenny’s story and wish to help by providing educational opportunities for disadvantaged children in Africa, please click here.

You can secure a place now with ACT for Great South Run 2018. Contact us now to reserve your place at a reduced refundable fee. Contact us now by email or phone.


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