Fabulous four celebrate lockdown birthday celebrations to remember as their challenge to run from France to Burnley tops £1,300 for NHS

A reunion of four friends from Burnley, who were hoping to celebrate their joint 40th birthdays in style, has been put on hold by the pandemic.

But that certainly has not stopped them from making sure the landmark birthday will be one to remember.

For the fabulous four, who are Leanne O'Leary, Kelly Topping, Katy Abbott and Elisha Eddy are collectively running a staggering 348 miles over 30 days.

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That is the distance from Burnley to Le Havre in France where Leanne, a self employed web developer, lives with her husband Terry.

Leanne O'Leary, one of four friends running the distance from France to Burnley to raise money for the NHS.

The couple and their two dogs moved there with Terry's job with Safran last year and were looking forward to coming home to visit family and friends in Burnley last month but the pandemic put paid to their plans.

Leanne said: "We all felt helpless and I felt very alone and so this is why we decided to do the challenge of running the distance between Burnley and Le Havre in solidarity as we are all in it together."

Kelly is also Leanne's aunt aswell as her friend. A Total Reward HR professional currently working from her home in Ightenhill Kelly lives with her partner, Matt Horsfall, who is a tool room manager at FMUK and they have a daughter Florence who is six and two French Bulldogs called Claude and Camille.

Mum of three Katy is married to self employed tradesman Glynn and they have three children Max, eight, Harry (five) and Annie who is two. Katy is the office manager St Andrews Primary School in Oswaldtwistle.

Kelly Topping,one of four friends running the distance from France to Burnley to raise money for the NHS.

Elisha, who works for Swinton Insurance in Manchester, lives with her husband Martyn and their daughter Marli who is five.

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Kelly said: "The idea to run collectively was born out of knowing Leanne was feeling quite isolated at home in France and struggling with not being able to get home to family and friends in Burnley,

"I felt she needed something to focus on. I also thought Elisha needed something as she is a very active person and exercises regularly and was due to run a marathon this year but it was cancelled due to Covid 19.

" When it came to myself, I have had a treadmill in the garage for some time and needed a reason to use it and a reason to stay away from the fridge and Katy just needed a reason to get out of the house having three children to home school whilst working from home."

Elisha Eddy,one of four friends running the distance from France to Burnley to raise money for the NHS.
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The four are running and walking the 348 miles, which works out at around 5k a day each, and their efforts are being recorded with Strava and other apps as proof of the distance covered over the 30 day period they are completing the challenge in.

So far they are 24 days into the challenge and have raised the grand total of £1,351 for East Lancashire NHS - 30 Day Running Challenge - In it together.Leanne, who exercises regularly and attends Crossfit in Pendle when home and Crossfit in Le Havre, said: "This is a big challenge for all four of us, despite our different fitness levels and running experience.

"None of us are used to exerting ourselves so much every single day and we are all pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones!

"All of us are trying to achieve a personal best during this challenge as well as juggling work and childcare from home.

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Katy Abbott, one of four friends running the distance from France to Burnley to raise money for the NHS.

"The NHS and fundraising was a secondary thought initially but as the pandemic progressed, it became increasingly at the forefront of our minds.

"When running and about to give up, you just need to think about the difficulties being faced each and every day by those on the frontline and it motivates you to carry on."