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Hospice Chef Set To Run Reading Half Marathon For Sue Ryder

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A hospice chef will be swapping her apron and chef’s whites for trainers and a running vest on Sunday 2 April as she joins thousands of runners on the start line of the Reading Half Marathon.

Chef Running Reading Half Marathon For Sue Ryder
Jo-Ann, a chef at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice, is running the Reading Half Marathon to raise funds for Sue Ryder

Jo-Ann Adams, who lives in Whitley, will be tackling the 13.1-mile distance to raise funds for national healthcare charity Sue Ryder, which runs Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading where she started working in January.

The hospice, which is based on Liebenrood Road in Reading, provides expert palliative care and support to people living with life-limiting conditions across Berkshire, as well as supporting their families.

“Some of my friends from a local running club had asked me if I was going to sign up for the Reading Half Marathon, but I wasn’t sure as I had just got this new job at the hospice and I knew I would be working some weekends,” explains Jo-Ann.

“However, by a stroke of luck when I got my shifts I had that weekend off, so I was able to take part. Later that day I saw an advert on social media about running the Reading Half Marathon for Sue Ryder – and it seemed like fate! I signed up for the charity place there and then.

“Since then I have spoken to people about my new job and some of them have told me about their own personal connections to Sue Ryder through loved ones being cared for here at the hospice, which has really brought the cause closer to home.”

Before joining the team at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice, Jo-Ann worked in the catering industry for many years, including most recently at a care home in Newbury.

“When my children were young I worked in catering at a school, before working as a chef at a care home for eight years,” explains Jo-Ann. “About four years ago decided to try something else and moved into an admin role, but I really missed being in the kitchen. The saying is true – you can take the chef out of the kitchen, but you can’t take the kitchen out of the chef!

“When I saw this job I thought it would be perfect as I have always enjoyed knowing who my customers are and seeing the positive difference I’m making – something that’s not always possible in hotels or restaurants. I am loving it so far and I feel like I’m part of the furniture already.”

In her role, Jo-Ann works with another chef and a catering assistant to prepare good quality, tasty and nutritious home-cooked food for patients receiving palliative care at the hospice’s inpatient unit.

“My nan was an amazing cook and a brilliant baker, so when I was growing up I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her and that’s where my passion for food started. I’m a hands-on practical type of person so I like to be creative and be proud of what I am putting on a plate. I would never serve anything that I wouldn’t eat myself. 

“I am at my happiest when I am in the kitchen, and it’s been so nice to receive such positive comments from patients, families and staff on my cooking. We have just re-introduced ‘tea at three’, and one of my favourite things is making biscuits to go around the inpatient unit on the trolley every day – my cakes have gone down very well too!

“I know I made the right decision by coming back into catering and working in a care environment. I just enjoy making a difference for those who need it the most.”

Money Raised

Jo-Ann is looking forward to running the Reading Half Marathon for Sue Ryder on Sunday 2 April and has so far raised over £300.

“This is the third time I’m taking part in the half marathon, but it’s particularly special this time as I am running for a charity where I see first-hand the difference it makes to people going through the most difficult times of their lives.”

To Donate

To donate to Jo-Ann’s fundraising page, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jo-Ann-Adams2

You can sign up to run the Reading Half Marathon for Sue Ryder until Sunday 26th March, with a discounted entry fee. Visit: sueryder.org/readinghalf.

For more information on Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice, visit: sueryder.org/duchessofkent.