Lake Windermere in the Lake District under a deep blue sky

How amazing is the ABOAB community? Barely a newsletter goes by without us sharing yet another adventure. Sometimes it’s Matthew and his latest Project Lighthouse cycle ride. Then there are supporters like Helen Bolland who’s training for the London marathon. Surely though, Lucy Milling and Beth Fenn taking on the Lake District 100km is the hardest (maddest?) challenge yet!

In this newsletter, our first of 2024, we catch up with the duo to find out why they decided to take on the Lake District Ultra 100km and how the training is going.

Don’t worry if you’re wondering how you can support ABOAB in a way that doesn’t involve epic running or cycling adventures, because the good news is that you already are. By subscribing to this newsletter, following us on social media, talking to friends, family and co-workers about ABOAB you are helping.

Every conversation, bake sale, craft sale and hoodie worn helps to spread the ABOAB word and that in turn helps more families to have a break whether that’s bringing us to the attention of new referrers, property owners or simply opening up the conversation about living with life limiting illnesses.

A property hunt in the north west & welcoming new referrers

We’re continuing our drive to add more properties to our portfolio this year, especially in the Lake District and on the North Wales coast for families referred by our existing partners on Merseyside and Macmillan Palliative Care, Central Manchester who’ve just come on board. We’ve just received our first referral from them, and Rachel is liaising with the family right now so that they can have a break as soon as possible.

View of Llandudo Pier on a sunny day
London Marathon runners running in front of Buckingham Palace. Pale blue sky and pale grey clouds.

Second time lucky at the London Marathon for Helen!

We’re wishing Helen Bolland bucket loads of good luck as she trains for this year’s London Marathon being held on Sunday 21 April.

An old school friend of founder Ange and her sisters, Helen was due to run it last year but had to withdraw due to injury. We’d love it if you could show Helen your support by donating via her Just Giving page here, and we’ll be kitting her out in the latest ABOAB branded running gear too.

Property in the spotlight: Unique Retreats

We couldn’t provide families with a break if it wasn’t for our property owners like Unique Retreats. Run by Molly and Lewis this collection of luxury properties is part of Premier Cottages and we’re thrilled that they’ve made 11 of their dog friendly Visit England 5* Gold rated holiday homes in east and north Yorkshire available to ABOAB.

Molly and Lewis take care of all the details so all guests need to do is turn up and relax. They’re also on hand to provide top tips on the best places to visit, grab a bite to eat or drink and answer any questions.

The beaches at Whitby and Sandsend are within striking distance of all the cottages as are the market towns of Malton, Hemsley and Pickering not to mention York. Or guests can simply relax with a cup of tea and enjoy the views.

Lucy and Beth take on the Lake District 100km for ABOAB

We’re full of admiration and thanks to Lucy Milling and Beth Fenn for choosing ABOAB as their nominated charity for the Lake District 100km this June. Lucy is the daughter of Angela Sturgeon’s sister Liz, who died from ovarian cancer when Lucy was just three so ABOAB is a charity that’s very close to her heart.

We caught up with them in between training runs and university studies to find out why they chose this challenge, how their training is going and how the ABOAB community can support them.

Is it true that neither of you have ever run more than 30k before?

Yes, it’s true! Lucy is a runner but does mountain/fell running so up and down rather than long distances. Beth is sporty and very strong and athletic but not really a runner. Surfing is her thing (she’s from Cornwall), but she mainly does cross-fit and has done lots of walking challenges.

Tell us about your friendship and what inspired you to take on this challenge and use it to raise funds and awareness for ABOAB?

We’re both students at Bath University and met through the surf club. Beth’s a couple of years older than me and we bonded immediately, really through Beth struggling with her mum’s ill health. When we met her mum was having scans and it was a worrying and uncertain time, although her mum’s health is stable right now.

We’d often go for runs to talk and try to work things through. We’ve had very different experiences, my mum died when I was just three years old whereas Beth is older and more able to understand and be involved in what’s happening.

Due to this connection, we wanted to do something to raise funds for a charity that would benefit people living with cancer and ABOAB was the obvious choice.

Why choose the Lake District Ultra 100km?

We’re both very outdoorsy people and had wanted to push ourselves. Plus, I know the Lakes quite well from my mountain challenges (fell running) and when I mentioned it to Beth, she said yes immediately, let’s do it! We’re really looking forward to all the views and seeing our friends and family but it’ll be interesting to see how we deal with the challenge on the day. Hopefully our love of singing as we run will keep our spirits up!

How’s your training going?

Oooh yes, the training! We went over to the Lakes in the Christmas holidays and did a few long runs (one was 40km from Grasmere to Ambleside, Fairfield horseshoe, a run around Ambleside (including a burrito stop) and back to Grasmere which was a lot of fun, even though it was cold and wet.

We chatted loads and more importantly we familiarised ourselves with the food and kit we’d need. Until the clocks change, we’ll just continue with our normal sports and activities and then start building up our mileage from Easter onwards.

We need time and daylight!  Our exams finish in May, so we do need to figure out how we’ll make time for longer training runs during revision time!

What happens on the day?

You can do the run over the weekend, but we’ve decided to do it all in one go rather than over two days. The course is a loop starting in Kendal taking in Garburn Pass, Ambleside with Lake Windermere as the halfway point. We plan to start at 8am and finish around midnight.

Our family and friends think we’re mad but they’re all coming to support us and they’ll be scattered around the route to help us keep going. It’s an organised event so there’ll be pit stops on the way which means we can travel light, just carrying food (peanut butter, lots of peanut butter, flapjacks and sandwiches), drinks and spare socks!

We always end up singing when we run so we’ll probably end up singing and dancing beforehand to get ourselves hyped up.

We love Jake Bugg’s ‘Simple as this’. It’s been stuck in our heads since our training run in December. You can have a listen to it on Lucy’s training run video on Instagram here

How can the ABOAB community support you?  

We’ve set ourselves a target of raising £1000 and have set up a Just Giving page Beach Bums on the Run take on Lake District 100K . It’s easy for people to donate and see how we’re getting on. We’ve already raised over £500 which is fantastic but obviously we’d love to hit (and maybe even exceed!) our £1000 target!

We’ll keep you updated on how Lucy, Beth and Helen are getting on with their training and preparations and in the meantime, if this has inspired you to challenge yourself and fundraise for ABOAB please let us know and we’ll support you all the way!

Thank you as ever for reading and your ongoing support. If you ever have any questions about what we do, think you know a potential property owner or referral partner, we’d love to hear from you. Simply drop Paula a note ( and arrange to have a chat.