Staff at Haskins Garden Centre in Ferndown prepare for Bournemouth Half Marathon in aid of Autism Wessex

Four employees working at Haskins Garden Centre in Ferndown are training for the Bournemouth Half Marathon in aid of Autism Wessex.

General manager Simon Hallam, customer services assistant team leader Pauline Oxford, admin assistant Ellie Trickett and customer service assistant Ruby Johnson are running the Bournemouth Half Marathon on Sunday October 7. They’ll be joined by Pauline’s daughter, Claire, and husband, David, making a total of a team of six.

Simon Hallam commented: “Our training is going well and each team member is following their own dedicated training plan and thoroughly enjoying having the challenge of a half marathon to spur them on! Three members of our team have never run this distance before and they are enjoying the support of their colleagues to meet the weekly goals of completing short and long runs.”

The Ferndown garden centre is supporting Autism Wessex as its ‘Charity of the Year’ via fundraising activities throughout 2018. The centre aims to raise several thousands of pounds for the charity, as well as providing the space for Autism Wessex to host information and awareness evenings to raise further donations.

Autism Wessex provides high quality specialist services for adults and children affected by autism throughout Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Somerset. According to statistics there are around 700,000 people affected by autism in the UK.

Thomas Johnston, fundraising manager at Autism Wessex, commented: “We’d like to say a big thank you and good luck to Simon, Ellie, Pauline, Ruby, Claire and David for their marathon fundraising efforts. We’ve been blown away by the generosity of Haskins customers and the dedication of the team at Haskins to find different ways to support us in our landmark 50th birthday year.

“We are immensely grateful as it’s only with the support and determined fundraising of organisations like Haskins that we are able to provide specialist advice and support to local children and adults affected by autism.”

Haskins in Ferndown has raised £1,257 so far this year for Autism Wessex and raised 4,548.03 for Dorset Mind last year. Haskins nominates a different local charity each year.

The Bournemouth Half follows the Full Marathon route and takes in both Boscombe and Bournemouth piers along a coastal route. To support Haskins’ fundraising efforts for Autism Wessex, visit