Barking headteacher set to run London marathon to support wife

PUBLISHED: 12:14 19 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:52 19 April 2016

Leigh Hovey with his wife Laura

Leigh Hovey with his wife Laura

Leigh Hovey

A headteacher is running the London marathon after being inspired by his wife’s daily struggle with ME – and has lost four stone during training.

Leigh Hovey before he lost four stone weight and after taking up running Leigh Hovey before he lost four stone weight and after taking up running

Leigh Hovey, 44, who runs Eastbury Primary in Dawson Avenue, Barking, will pound the 26.2 mile course on Sunday to raise funds for Action for ME.

The charity raises money to provide support for people with ME and fund research into the condition, more commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome, which affects Leigh’s wife, Laura.

Leigh said her diagnosis last year has had a devastating impact on her life.

”She just became really unwell,” he said. “She literally went to bed and could not get out for four or five months. They just thought it was really bad flu, and she was eventually diagnosed with ME.

“She’s had to give up work. She worked as a private nanny and she loved her job and it’s frustrating she can’t do it any more.”

Leigh added that their once busy social life has also had to be scaled back.

“If we do something at the weekend she will have to do nothing during the week to make sure she has the energy,” he explained. “It’s kind of a mystery illness, it affects everybody differently.

“It’s really strange and that’s why I feel passionate about raising money.”

While Laura is inspiring his fundraising efforts Leigh’s decision to get fit and take up running was all of his own.

He gave up his 40-a-day smoking habit in December 2014 while picture taken by Laura motivated him to strap on his trainers and lose four stone.

“I was horrified, [when I saw the photo]” he said. “I was nearly 16 stone, I had no idea I had got that big.

“I just felt unwell, I felt unhealthy, I had difficulty breathing. I thought I am in my forties now I need to take care of my health.”

Leigh has been training intensively but knows to complete the course he will need to dig deep.

“I think the atmosphere and support from the crowds will drive me on and get across the finish line,” he said. “I can’t wait – I am buzzing.”

Click here to visit Leigh’s JustGiving page and make a donation.

Related articles

Latest Barking and Dagenham Stories


Stand-in Essex captain Tom Westley admitted his side were outplayed by Nottinghamshire in their County Championship defeat at Chelmsford.


Which one of these four players is England’s greatest right midfielder of all time?

Barking theatre company Studio 3 Arts is launching a fringe arts festival.

Yesterday, 17:28

Belgium and Tunisia have met on three previous occasions in all competitions, with a win apiece and a draw. The encounters have been tight affairs, with victories decided by one-goal margins, but today’s match didn’t follow the same trend.

Yesterday, 16:00

Eastbury Manor House is celebrating one hundred years since it was saved from demolition.

Yesterday, 13:01

Nottinghamshire required just an hour and three-quarters on the fourth morning of the Specsavers County Championship game at Chelmsford to remove the last six Essex wickets and claim victory.

Yesterday, 12:57

Lakeside Hammers team boss Will Pottinger admits his side have “momentum” after a nail-biting away win at Scunthorpe on Friday night.

I feel like Sir David Attenborough has been lying to us. Not about the plastic thing, sadly. I miss having my individually wrapped peanut halves. But he’s been lying about nature.


The festive season is a hectic time for many, with frenzied dashes to the shops for groceries and gifts, and parties to arrange and attend.

Newsletter Sign Up

Barking and Dagenham Post twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Barking and Dagenham Post
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now