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Fortieth anniversary

The 40th anniversary of the London Marathon Charitable Trust

The London Marathon Charitable Trust is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2021 with a year of celebrations and initiatives to mark four decades of inspiring activity. 

The Trust was created on 13 March 1981, just weeks before the very first London Marathon was held on Sunday 29 March 1981. Later that year the first seven grants from The Trust were awarded, including £1,500 to the Ferndale Sports Centre in Brixton. 

Forty years on, The Trust has expanded its remit to fund projects across the UK and London Marathon Events (LME) now delivers a number of world-class mass participation events in running and swimming every year in addition to the London Marathon.  

The surplus generated by LME, which is passed to The Trust through corporate Gift Aid, means that a total of more than £93 million has now been awarded to more than 1,490 projects across the UK, enabling people of all ages and abilities to become and remain physically active and challenging inequality of access to physical activity. 

Since 1981, The Trust has: 

  • Funded more than 55 different types of sports and activities 
  • Awarded funding to every one of the 32 London boroughs 
  • Awarded more than £11.6 million to 20 strategic partners since 2018 to Inspire Activity across the UK 
  • Awarded more than £7 million to projects that have helped preserve the Olympic Legacy such as the London Marathon Community Track and Lee Valley Velo Park, both in the Olympic Park 
  • Awarded £3.8 million to more than 200 play projects – play is often the first step into physical activity for many children, and The Trust is one of the few organisations to fund play facilities
  • Provided funding that has protected 46 playing fields (equal to 335 hectares) in perpetuity across the UK.

As part of the #LMCT40 campaign launch, The Trust invited all beneficiaries of its grants from the past 40 years to apply for one of 40 special Anniversary Places in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon. Applicants had to demonstrate how the place in the world’s greatest marathon would be used to inspire activity. 

Among those to have been granted an Anniversary Place are: 

  • Badr Alanizay – Active Partnerships: Badr is a refugee from Kuwait who arrived in the UK aged 17. He struggled during the lockdowns caused by Covid-19, but was inspired into activity by Active Partnerships’ Young People Forward Project, which uses the power of sport and physical activity to improve the health of young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Badr wants to use his marathon place to help show how important activity is and what it can do for you.  
  • Michelle Chenery – Every Life Has A Purpose (ELHAP): Michelle is a volunteer at ELHAP and is committed to helping children with disabilities. Michelle has inspired the ELHAP community to come together to do a 2.6 Challenge on Marathon Day to raise money to provide equipment to help children with disabilities to be physically active. 
  • Liam Flanagan – Holy Primary RC Primary School: Liam has cerebral palsy and physical disabilities. He found himself bullied at school, but his confidence has grown from getting active, and, in particular, through running. Liam has completed many fundraising events and has been recognised for his inspirational efforts in his hometown by receiving ‘The Spirt of Corby’ award. On Marathon Day, Holy Family RC Primary School will be encouraging their community to ‘walk/run with Liam’ by completing 26 miles in their chosen team. 

Throughout The Trust’s 40th year anniversary celebrations, a series of videos reflecting the work The Trust has done and the impact its grants have had on organisations and individuals have been shown on The Trust’s Twitter channel @LMCT