Runners put in Marathon effort for Perennial

Paresh Raithatha and Andrew O’Brien will run the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday 24 April, raising money to help horticulturists in need.

Andrew O’Brien, gardener, blogger and owner of Kent-based business Grow Garden Care, is in the final stages of his training for the race on Sunday 24 April. He joins Paresh Raithatha, Managing Director of Ansell Garden Centre in West Drayton, Middlesex. This year is the first time the charity has two people with ballot places in the race.

This will be Andrew’s second London Marathon, having first raced in 2010, and he aims to raise £1,000 for Perennial, the only UK charity supporting all horticulturists in times of need.

Speaking about his marathon efforts, Andrew says:

“It came as a bit of a surprise to be offered a ballot place for this year – it can take a few tries to get through! But I’m enjoying the training and particularly the opportunity to collect sponsorship for Perennial, who do a fantastic job of providing free help and support to horticulturalists in need. In our industry, it can be difficult to build up a financial cushion to see you through times when poor physical or mental well-being could threaten your livelihood, so Perennial offer a vital lifeline, while being a great advocate for horticulture as a whole.”

Paresh is fulfilling a life ambition to run in the iconic event and has a fundraising target of £2,500 for Perennial.

Speaking about his marathon efforts, Paresh says:

“Running doesn’t come naturally to me and training for this event has been challenging. I know that the race itself will be tough but I’m hoping that the adrenalin and the support of the London crowds will be enough to give me an extra edge on the day. I’ve put myself through it to help give back to the industry I have grown up in and care very much about. I am fortunate to be in a position of relative security, but there are so many who work in this industry who are not so lucky. I hope that my fundraising will help Perennial support more people who need financial, social and emotional assistance in times of illness, bereavement, financial hardship and old age.”

Chris Crooker, Events Manager at Perennial, says:

“It’s fantastic to have Paresh and Andrew running for Perennial and those we help this year. We will be there on the day supporting them and cheering them round and wish them all the best in their final few weeks of training.”

Perennial is the only UK charity offering all those who work in, or are retired from horticulture free and confidential advice, financial assistance and support through life’s many challenges. A dedicated network of trained caseworkers provides one-to-one help throughout the UK. For many, the services Perennial provides are simply a ‘lifeline’. Find out more at

You can support Andrew and Paresh by donating securely at:

Virgin Money Giving | Andrew O’Brien

Virgin Money Giving | Paresh Raithatha

And you can follow Andrew’s training tales and progress via Twitter (@darwinboerne) or his blog


Notes to Editors:

For all media enquiries, interviews, photographs and additional information, please contact:

Clare Johnson | | 07815 041635

Jennie Spears | | 07944 552634


 Perennial offers free, confidential advice and support to everyone working in or retired from horticulture and their families, including gardeners, landscapers, nursery and garden centre staff, parks and grounds care staff and tree surgeons. People turn to Perennial for financial and emotional help in times of need because of disability, sickness, poverty, financial hardship and old age – although increasingly younger people are seeking their assistance. Many individuals describe the services Perennial offers as a ‘lifeline’. The work of Perennial depends entirely on voluntary donations from the horticultural industry and the garden-loving public.

Find out more at Follow us on Twitter @PerennialGRBS or find us on Facebook.