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Virtual Races Hit New Highs!

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The team at Front Runner Events were quick to turn the tables on their event that which was due to take place earlier this month in the beautiful Pembrey Country Park.  As every runner knows there is nothing like the real event, lining up at the start with every other runner who has trained incredibly hard for the race ahead.  But, with races being postponed and in some cases being cancelled, this has left organisers and runners feeling disappointed.  That is the reason why the Front Runner team felt it was important to offer their runners a tangible goal by introducing the Great Welsh Marathon and Half Marathon virtual races.

David Martin-Jewell said:

            “We are excited to be seeing runners from all over the World taking part in our virtual races in their respective neighbourhoods.  This is the first time we have launched a virtual race and we are pleased to be able to provide this platform, helping runners maintain their fitness, set goals and achieve their targets.  So far, we have seen nearly 500 runners take part, some of whom may prefer to run on their own and not have the added pressure of others around them chasing PB’s.”

            “I’ve learnt over the last few weeks that running is not all about achieving times, sometimes we just need to enjoy the nature, sounds and appreciate everything around us, so I’m delighted we can offer this race for everyone.”        

If you would like to register and #RunCymru wherever you live, you can sign up for the virtual race and choose between the half marathon or marathon distance here:  https://www.greatwelshmarathon.co.uk/join-great-welsh-virtual-races/  You’ll need to hurry, as entry will only remain open until 30th April, but to help, we’ve made the process is simple:

1. Register your place – £15 (entry includes a finisher t-shirt, bespoke medal & certificate)

2. Complete the distance before 30/04/2020

3. Submit your Strava, Garmin, GPS data (to your members hub when you signed up – this must show your name, the exact distance, route, time and date)

Once certified, you will receive your goodies in the post, but you can expect to see your name on the leader boards (for either the half or full marathon) and get your virtual finisher’s certificate.  Why not make your marathon miles go further and help Save the UK’s Charities?  To take part in this fantastic fund raiser head to: https://www.twopointsixchallenge.co.uk/ to find out more! 

Don’t forget to check out our TIPS on running responsibly and maintaining social distancing measures whilst exercising outdoors!  

How To Train & Run A Half Marathon Safely – #runresponsibly

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As difficult as the situation is that we currently find ourselves in, we all want something to set our sights on and take our minds off what’s going on in the World around us.  We all know how important staying active, healthy and fit is and running is a great way to do this for our minds and body, so we would like to continue to provide goals for our runners whilst maintaining current governmental and public health advice.

The good news is that if you are new or returning to running after some time off, training for a half-marathon is manageable even for the busiest of us!  So why not use this time to ensure you make the most of your exercise once a day and get yourselves running.

The half marathon is the perfect distance for beginners and for the more experienced, wanting to achieve that sense of accomplishment.  That is why we at Front Runner Events were keen to establish the JCP Swansea Half MarathonLlanelli Half Marathon and Great Welsh Half.  Thankfully, our first race of the year took place before COVID-19 hit the UK, however we have had to postpone the remaining two and offer a virtual race as an option.

Now, if you can manage two to three miles at a time, starting off with walk-run-walk, a couple of times per week, you can get into half-marathon shape in 12 weeks providing you stick to a plan.  To help, we have put together a variety of plans to suit all levels of ability, so we’re sure you’ll find one to suit you!  To find your plan go to: https://bit.ly/2zmewO1

You will need to bear in mind that you should add a weekend run that is a slightly longer distance once you feel confident to do so.  Once you gain momentum you will be running—four to five miles in no time, then you can gradually build up to,7, 8, 9 or 10 miles over the course of the 12 weeks.

The best thing about a half marathon is that the training is usually lifestyle friendly that includes a few days of running or jogging, a couple days of cross-training, and a couple days of rest will get you into shape.  Here are a few TIPS to make sure you train responsibly during this time:

  • Run in your local area – starting from home (don’t drive).
  • Run alone or only with household members.
  • Greet fellow runners with a wave rather than calling out.
  • Run with your phone in case you need to call for help.
  • Think about when & where you will run – avoid gatherings, use wide lanes or spaces which are likely to be quieter.
  • Be aware of your surroundings – If you are approaching people slow down and maintain at least 2 metres distance (plan your pass – let them you know you are there, go around them, cross over etc).
  • Wear hi-vis gear if you have it so you stand out (particularly around dawn or dusk).
  • Try and wear a buff and gloves if possible.
  • Wash or shower as soon as you return home.
  • Be sensible, stay safe!

To find alternative or additional challenges our training partners at realbuzz.com have some great ideas to mix up your running.  To find out more and how you can make the most of your training head to their pages here.

 

2.6 Challenge

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With the postponement of our own Great Welsh Marathon and JCP Swansea Half Marathon following the same path as thousands of other events across the UK being postponed due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, this is having a destructive impact on the UK Charity sector that could result in many being forced to close. We are proud of our work with all of our charity partners who do so much good on both a local and national level. It is now our turn to give back and help the charities.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) CEO Karl Wilding estimates that the UK charity sector will lose £4 billion in income as a result of the pandemic.

Front Runner Events is working alongside some of the biggest mass participation event organisers to assist with the 2.6 Challenge and Save the UK’s Charities. But we cannot do it alone, we need your help!

Launching on 26th April, on what should have been the date of the 40th edition of the London Marathon – The 2.6 Challenge involves dreaming up a challenge based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 and fundraising or donating to Save the UK’s Charities. It’s open to anyone of any age – the only requirement is that the activity follows Government guidelines on exercising and social distancing!

If fundraising dries up during this lockdown period, many of our most valued charities may not survive. Join us with your own 2.6 Challenge or simply donate to the cause and help us ensure the most vulnerable members of our society continue to have somewhere to turn during this crisis.

To find out more about how you can join in head here.

WHAT IS INVOLVED – Your challenge can be anything that works for you!

Run, walk or cycle 2.6 miles, 2.6km or for 26 minutes. You could do the same in your home or garden, go up and down the stairs 26 times, juggle for 2.6 minutes, do a 26 minute exercise class or 26 keepie-ups – anything you like.

Front Runner Events Announces Postponement of the JCP Swansea Half Marathon 2020

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Front Runner Events regrettably announce the postponement of the 2020 JCP Swansea Half Marathon, which was scheduled to take place on Sunday 14th June. Organisers have announced today that the event will now take place on Sunday 1st November 2020.

Race Director, David Martin-Jewell said:

“It is with much disappointment that we must follow suit of all our other races scheduled this year and postpone our third event of 2020. This has been an extremely challenging year for us at Front Runner Events, and we have worked tirelessly to try and give runners a tangible target and goal during these unprecedented times. However, our hope of delivering an event that may have been the first to proceed post-lockdown is no longer an option. During this process we have closely monitored and adhered to the most up-to-date advice and guidance from the UK Government, Public Health Wales and continued on-going communications with our medical team. Therefore, we have concluded that it is no longer an acceptable position for us to stage the event on our planned date and are pleased to announce that we will deliver the race on Sunday 1st November 2020.”        

In order to make the necessary arrangements for the new date the team have worked tremendously hard with key stakeholders, the local authority and contractors to ensure that another quality event for Swansea is delivered successfully.  All event communications will be ongoing, and updates will be sent out accordingly to runners.

The team know that there will be lots of runners fundraising for the many charities partnered with the race and realise that this is a difficult time for everyone. If you can continue with this, please do so, as they need your help now more than ever.

Front Runner Events would like to thank all event partners with whom there has been constant dialogue, and we are appreciative for their continued support during these difficult times.

We would also like to send our love and appreciation to those who are continuing on the frontline, helping to battle this pandemic and working to keep the country moving. From all of us at Front Runner Events, we salute every single one of you. We are also mindful that there are many people affected by the pandemic and send our thoughts and condolences to anyone directly affected by coronavirus.

Advice

We are asking all runners to continue training in line with the governmental guidelines on daily exercise:

  1. Train close to home
  2. Exercise once a day
  3. Always obey social distancing rules

We are looking forward to coming out of the other side of this pandemic and we cannot wait to welcome everyone back to Swansea. That is for another day, for now, stay safe, stay well and stay home.

Runners Options   If you can’t make the new date here are your options:

  1. Transfer

We’re happy for you to transfer your entry to another runner. There would normally be a fee for transferring your place, but we’ve scrapped this under the circumstances.

To transfer your entry to someone else you can:

  • Log on to your Realbuzz Members Hub
  • Please click the transfer button
  • You’ll need your friend’s email address

You’ll need to transfer your number by midnight on Wednesday 30th Sept 2020 so we have enough time to send out the race packs. By transferring your number, you won’t be able to get a refund.

  1. Run the race in 2021

We can defer your place to our 2021 race [date TBC]. There’d normally be a fee for deferring your place, but we’ve currently waived this under the circumstances. If you’d like to defer to next year, let us know. The deadline for deferrals is Wednesday 28th October 2020 at 1700.

  1. Run the race virtually

We would like to offer this option to all of our runners.  However, we will only be releasing our virtual platform when it is safe to do so based on government advice.  Anyone interested in this option please follow us on social media and check our website regularly for updates. We’ll also send out an email when this option is available so please keep an eye on your inbox.

What do I do?

Everyone who has registered to take part in June will be immediately entered into the new date in November and will not need to do anything.

Due to the team working remotely, we are working through what additional options we can offer or implement to ensure that we offer the same level of service to anyone that may not be able to make the new date. As the race is still planned to proceed this year, we are unable to offer refunds at the present time.  However, those who couldn’t make the date in June or would prefer to run in cooler conditions now have the chance to enter and #RunSwansea in November.  To REGISTER your place, go to: www.swanseahalfmarathon.co.uk

JCP Swansea Half Marathon 2020: Position Statement

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We, at Front Runner Events, like most people in the UK, have been closely monitoring the continued spread of COVID-19 / coronavirus. With the swift and forced changes affecting society on a daily basis, we want to make entrants and runners aware of our current thoughts and how it is affecting our planning. Given the postponement and cancellation of so many other events across the country and further afield (including the Euro’s and the Olympics), we are putting the JCP Swansea Half Marathon ‘UNDER REVIEW’.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

We are not a reckless company and at no point would we take a course of action that would put any of our participants, staff, contractors, or suppliers in harm’s way.  We are continuing to gather data from our medical team, Local Authority, and many other stakeholders with a view to see how this pandemic may develop. We are also closely monitoring the advice and guidance from UK Government, Welsh Government and Public Health Wales.

I am of the opinion that we have sufficient time available to us to consider a variety options that will allow us to prepare for a number of scenarios. Due to the nature of what we do, conditions of our event licence, risk assessments and so on, we will need medical support throughout this process and at the event. We are having regular discussions with our medical team about all options and we are in agreement that it is too early to decide a final course of action for Swansea, which I explain below.

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS?

Of the many options available to us, one could be that the pandemic begins to rescind (in a number of weeks) and we may able to proceed on June 14th as planned. I am of the opinion that having this goal to aim for after a period of ‘lock down or isolation’, would provide significant relief to many.

Another option could be that we delay the event until later in the summer/early winter and allow for the pandemic to pass when hopefully normal living conditions return, and we adjust our plans accordingly.

We are keeping as many options open as possible at the moment to allow us to make an informed and the correct decision. With this in mind, can I ask that you are patient and continue to support us whilst we continue to review all aspects of this unprecedented, dynamic and constantly changing situation. Rest assured, we will take the correct course of action for the event and in a timely manner. We will not prolong this review process and will update you as soon as possible.

Please continue to follow Governmental advice on exercise and maximising the amount of time available to train outdoors. Please also adhere to social distancing and isolation protocols.

Stay safe and we will update you again very soon.

David Martin-Jewell, Race Director

Home Workouts for Runners

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With all the news around COVID-19 some of you runners may feel nervous about heading outside.  We all know there’s nothing better than running with friends but it may not be right for your individual circumstances, so we’ve got some useful ideas of home workouts thanks to our training partners realbuzz.com. Try the following exercises, mix it up with some strength circuits or even use a video tutorial on YouTube – there are so many to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice!  But don’t forget to listen to your body, don’t overdo it and drink plenty of water when training at home!

Tabata circuit

Tabata training is a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT) that is based on 4 minute blocks. It’s a fantastic and time effective way to work on both your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. However, there is a catch; this type of training isn’t for the faint hearted. You need to push yourself hard and not simply ‘go through the motions’ if you want to reap the benefits.

Each exercise in the circuit lasts for 4 minutes and is split into the following format:

  • Work for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Repeat 8 times
  • Take 1 minute of rest between each different exercise.

You can even download a Tabata training timer for your phone or iPad that keeps track of time for you.  Try the following routine for a workout that will leave you feeling the burn.

Step ups

Step up onto a box, whilst, maintaining a good posture, chest up and shoulders back. Step down using the same leading leg. Alternate legs and repeat.

Mountain climber

Start in a straight arm plank position. Alternate bending your knees and bringing them forward as close to your hands as possible. Focus on keeping your back flat throughout the movement.

Burpees

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Drop down into a ‘push-up’ position. Push back up and jump into a squat position. Jump with as much energy as you can into the air, raising your hands above your head to complete one rep. On landing, start the next rep straight away.

Side plank

Lie on your side with your legs straight and your ankles together. Prop your torso up with your upper arm. Lift your hips upward until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your neck. Alternate sides for each 20 second block.

Reverse lunge

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step one foot back directly behind your body. Bend both knees to drop into a single leg squat position. Return to the starting position and alternate legs.

Russian Twists

Sit leaning back slightly with both knees bent and your feet elevated so that you assume a ‘V position’. Hold a weighted object with both hands. (If you don’t have any dumbbells or weighted plates at home then a large bag of rice will do). Keeping your hips facing forward and your trunk fixed, rotate your upper body and weighted object to each side, turning your head as you twist.

2020 JCP Swansea Half Marathon Position Statement

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At Front Runner Events we’re receiving a number of enquiries on our position regarding the 2020 JCP Swansea Half Marathon due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

We’re still planning and working towards delivering this year’s event on Sunday 14th June, and we’ll continue to work on this basis unless it becomes apparent that changes are likely or enforced.

Our advice to you, our runners, who are signed up to #RunSwansea with us this year, is to continue/begin your training plan where possible. In these times of uncertainty running can really help you to maintain calm and ease any anxiousness you may be experiencing and be a welcome escape.

Our friends at Realbuzz have produced this article that shows how exercise can help us relieve stress and anxiety.

We will continue to closely monitor advice from the UK Government, Public Health Wales, the Local Authority, as well as our own medical team in terms of what to expect and what to plan for in the coming months.

If there are any changes, we will of course update you in a timely manner with all the relevant details.

But for now, we’re planning on welcoming you to the start line in Swansea on the 14th June.

Good luck with your training and happy running!

The Front Runner Events Team

Winter Training Tips

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With Winter just around the corner, organisers of Wales’ multi-award winning half marathon are ready to help runners get smart and fit for the colder months ahead.

David Martin-Jewell, Race Director of the JCP Swansea Half Marathon says:

“Winter training is an important part of being a runner and keeping up the required levels of fitness to continue taking part in races throughout the year.  There are lots of runners who dread the colder temperatures and shorter hours of daylight but getting out in the fresh air during autumn and winter is good for the mind, body and spirit.  There are lots of ways to combat the winter fatigue and hopefully these tips will encourage everyone to keep up the training or even take up running if you haven’t run before…”

What to wear

It’s cold, wet and dark, what do you wear to run comfortably in these conditions? Brangwyn Hall Start Line

Cold – Layer up with a few light layers, if you get too warm you can take them off and tie them around your waist and put accessories such as gloves/hats into your pockets.

Base layers, long sleeve tops & full-length tights are a must when it’s cold. Important accessories are gloves, head buffs, beanie hat and thicker socks. If you’re not running from home take jogging bottoms and a hoody to leave in the car, something warm to put on while you stretch off.

Wet – A waterproof running jacket will help to keep you dry and in turn will keep you comfortable and warm whilst you get your miles in.

A running cap/visor will be useful to keep rain out of your eyes and a wrist buff or sweatbands are always handy to wipe your eyes. If you aren’t running from home then always have a towel and dry clothes in the car for afterwards. There’s nothing worse than driving home wet and you will get cold quickly.

Dark – If you’re running early in the morning or late in the evening, then a high visibility jacket, vest or similar clothing is essential to make sure you’re seen.

A headtorch is also useful during the darker hours, whilst there may be routes without sufficient street lighting, you may need more than hi-viz clothing to stay safe! Head torches help you see where you’re going but more importantly – they help other road users and vehicles see you. Running in the evening? Even if it’s light when you start, chances are it will get dark during your run – always take high viz & head torch with you.

Hydration

It may be cold and wet outside but hydration is still key before, during and after your training runs.

Even when it is cold and wet you will still sweat, and you will still need to take on plenty of fluid to replace the water your body loses through perspiration. Take a small water bottle with you if it’s a long run, if the run is shorter you can either take a bottle with you or have one ready for immediately after you finish.

Buddy up

During the winter months, not only is it colder but it is darker, try not to run on your own, safety in numbers!

Buddying up is recommended no matter what time of year it is, however, winter conditions can make it more dangerous to be out running alone. Running with a friend will also make for a more enjoyable and productive run as you can encourage and push each other when you get tired.

If you must run on your own – take a phone, let someone know your route & how long you expect to be out for.

If you don’t have anyone to run with, why not join a local running club? There are plenty of local clubs that cater for all abilities. Join in on a session and see how it goes, you will improve your running, training will become easier and you will make new friends all at the same time.

Plan your week

There are many things that can come between you and your run – work and family are the main struggles but sometimes it can be as simple as looking outside and thinking “not today, I’ll run tomorrow instead”. A training plan should be a guide that you use and follow as best you can, but if you can’t do the scheduled Tuesday run because you have other commitments, swap it with a rest day so you still get the planned miles in.

Plan your week, this could be done using a training app on your phone, a calendar you regularly use (hard copy or digital) or you can even print and use one of our training plans – spend some time each Sunday evening to plan all your runs around your commitments for that week. Once the plan is there, print it out and put it up somewhere you will see it each day to remind you of what you need to do.

Try and mix up your runs each week, adding a hill or a few sprints into your run will keep the mind active.

The JCP Swansea Half Marathon is a 13.1 mile race on fully closed roads that starts outside the iconic Brangwyn Hall and takes in six miles of stunning coastline and idyllic marina on its course.  Suitable to first timers, fun runners, elites and your everyday hero, this simply is a MUST do race for anyone thinking about running a half marathon.  The JCP Swansea Half Marathon race takes place in just 7 months, on 14th June 2020.  To sign up to take part or keep up with the latest news go to:  www.swanseahalfmarathon.co.uk

Like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/SwanseaHalf and follow @Swansea_HM #RunSwansea #FromTheCityToTheSea on Twitter.

JCP Swansea Half Marathon Announces Maggie’s Cancer Care as Charity Partner of the Year

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Organisers of the JCP Swansea Half Marathon are pleased to announce Maggie’s Cancer Care as their Charity of the Year for 2020.  The team at Front Runner Events; who host a series of long distance running events in Llanelli and Swansea have been working in partnership with the charity for the last three years at their flagship race; the JCP Swansea Half Marathon.

Tash Smith, Senior Events Coordinator at Front Runner Events said: 

“We are thrilled to announce Maggie’s as our platinum charity of the year.  They offer a wonderful service to patients and their families and hope that our partnership will help them continue this great work for many years to come.  We have a fantastic relationship with the team at Maggie’s and we look forward to developing this further over the next 12 months.” 

As some will know; the late Maggie Keswick Jencks founded Maggie’s in 1995 and the centre in Swansea was established in 2011.  Having been fully operational for the last 8 years it currently supports an astounding number of (approximately) 900,000 people in the South West Wales region.

Leanne Jennett, Centre Fundraising Manager said:

“We’re delighted at Maggie’s to become charity partner of the year at the 2020 JCP Swansea Half Marathon.  This is a big event for us, especially with it being local to our centre.  It offers a fantastic platform for fundraising and helps bring in essential funds to the centre.  As a registered charity, Maggie’s relies solely on the generosity of their supporters, through fundraising and donations to help keep the centre open for visitors.”

The team at Maggie’s offer practical advice, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family or friends.  The centres are where users can find advice about benefits, eating well and somewhere you will find qualified experts to provide emotional support; places to meet other people or simply sit quietly with a cup of tea.  The service provided at Maggie’s has been recognised as second to none by the many that it supports.

In 2020 #TeamMaggies will have 100 spaces available for anyone wishing to run for their charity.  Participants don’t need to super athletes to take part as the race is suitable for every ability on its flat and friendly route.  Each runner will be supported by Maggie’s and organisers with race tips, training plans and charity place t-shirts.  So if you fancy a challenge and want to raise funds for Maggie’s contact: Leanne Jennett on 01792 200 001 or email: swanseafundraising@maggiescentres.org or visit: http://www.swanseahalfmarathon.co.uk/Maggie’s/

The event will take place on Sunday 14th June starting at 10am from the Brangwyn Hall, so there’s plenty of time to set yourself a challenge for next year!  It is a fully marshalled race on closed roads that is flat, fast and on a course that is perfect for beginners, and first time half marathon runners.  The route takes runners through the city along Swansea Bay to Mumbles, and returns through SA1 to finish at Swansea Museum.

Family & Organisers Combined Statement

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Following the tragic event that took place at the JCP Swansea Half Marathon on Sunday 23rd June, whereby a young man was taken to hospital and later died, race organisers are now able to confirm with permission and close consultation with the family that the runner was indeed: Mr Wil Sern Ong, aged 21.  Mr Ong was from Malaysia and studying Environmental Engineering at the city’s University. 

Managing Director of Front Runner Events, David Martin-Jewell said, “Everyone associated and involved with the Swansea Half has been devastated by this tragic loss of life following the event. We are in very close contact with the family and supporting them at this time.

“This was the second time Mr Ong has taken part in our event whereby, he completed the half marathon in 2018.  The news of this has hit the team hard and we are also supporting the crew who were directly involved in the delivery of the event.  The safety of our race participants is of paramount importance to us and we would like to recognise the speedy response by our on-site medics and by St John Cymru Wales, who were at the scene immediately, to give emergency assistance”

A family spokesperson said, “We are so heartbroken by the sudden and tragic passing of Wil Sern Ong. No words could express how sad and painful it is for the family, Church family, English Corner and all those who knew him. He was a brother in Christ, a dear friend and a partner in ministry. His love for Jesus Christ, his passion in serving Him and his desire for others to know Him are the marks of this godly young man.

Wil Sern was a rare gem to find: well versed in God’s word, spiritually matured beyond his years, so full of life, well mannered, helpful and kind. In the short span of nearly 21 years, he had impacted and inspired so many.

A loving son and brother, Wil Sern, a staff sergant of the 12th Kuala Lumpur Boys Brigade, moved to Swansea In 2017 to embark on a new chapter in his life. His Brother said “Wil Sern loved life, the challenge it posed and the excitement of new adventure, learning and experiences. Wil Sern will be missed by so many friends here and back home in Malaysia. It is so sad that this has happened, we will all miss him so much”.

His aunt said “Wil Sern is such a special boy who would have achieved great things in his life. The last few days have been a whirlwind of emotions and we are unable to come to terms with the passing of my nephew”.

“He will be greatly missed, but we take comfort that he is with God. Please remember his family and friends who are greatly affected in your prayers as each of us is grieving differently.”

Friends of Mr Ong have set up a Justgiving/Crowd funding page to assist the family while they are in the UK. All surplus monies will be donated to the Argyle & Rhyddings Presbyterian Church, Swansea.  Please donate to the fundraising page at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/wilsernong

For anyone wishing to make a donation via the church please contact Argyle & Rhyddings Presbytarian Church directly.

We ask that the family’s request for privacy is maintained.