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      Saintfield man raises more than £400

      16 October 2019

      Member of the Northern Ireland Advisory group and fundraising volunteer Stuart Smyth has raised more than £400 for Action on Hearing Loss in a mega fundraising challenge.

      Stuart joined the 5000 runners taking part in the Belfast half marathon in September, and then went on to scale Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland’s highest mountain.

      Stuart clocked up more than 50,000 steps over the day, completing the half marathon in just over two hours and scaling Donard, a climb of 2,790 feet, in just four hours.

      A member of local running club Saintfield Striders, Stuart chose the challenge to combine two activities he loves for a charity close to his heart.

      He said: “You can’t see hearing loss but it has a profound effect on a person’s life. Hearing loss is increasing and I want to see help out there for those who need it.”

      Stuart developed hearing loss at seven years old and has worn hearing aids for more than 30 years. However, he admits that as a teenager hearing aids made him feel self-conscious.

      “Back then hearing aids were very big and for a while I tried to get by without them. When I reached my twenties I realised I needed to wise up as I was missing out on conversation and I started wearing two hearing aids. I think wearing hearing aids has become more acceptable; they’re smaller now, you can get them in different colours and there’s been lots of improvements with digital technologies.”

      Stuart is no stranger to fundraising challenges, previously completing the Edinburgh marathon and the Mourne Wall Walk for Action on Hearing Loss. Originally from Belfast, Stuart started volunteering five years ago and has been on the Northern Ireland Advisory Group for three years.

      Despite the rain and fog, Stuart finished the challenge with a smile on his face, proudly wearing his half marathon medal. He said:

      “I must have climbed Donard over 100 times but never after a half marathon. The weather wasn’t great but it was a fun day and I’m pleased to have raised some money to support people with deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss in Northern Ireland.”

      If you are interested in fundraising for Action on Hearing Loss, please contact us. Email fundraising@hearingloss.org.uk, call 028 9023 9619 or visit www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/northernireland for inspiration.

      Stuart is a member of local running club Saintfield Striders
      Stuart is a member of local running club Saintfield Striders