The Voice star makes marathon runner’s day!

News release and photos for immediate release ( Sunday 22 April 2012)

Sean Penny, 25, from Arlesey, proposed to girlfriend Gemma Austin, 25, after completing the Virgin London Marathon for Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK, the charity that grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions. The proposal came after Jay Norton, star of BBC1 show The Voice , serenaded Gemma with one of his own songs, Forever .

Sean, who completed the 26.2 mile run in 5 hours and 10 minutes, discovered Jay on YouTube before he hit television fame. After deciding to propose he asked Jay via Twitter to help make it extra special. Jay, who gave an emotional performance, said: “I’m so happy to be involved, it’s just amazing!”

But the proposal was not the only thing at the forefront of Sean’s mind. He was running with a photograph of his childhood best friend, Natalie Brooks, who was granted her wish in 2002.

Sean said: “Natalie returned to school the day after her London shopping trip wish and I remember how happy she was. It made me so grateful to Make-A-Wish that I have always wanted to repay them for what they did. Sadly, at the age of just sixteen, Natalie lost her battle with cancer and left us in October 2003. This is my way of saying thank you to Make-A-Wish.”

He went on to say: “I’m so happy about so many different things. This is the best day of my life.”

To support Sean please visit his JustGiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Sean-Penny .

There are currently 20,000 children and young people in the UK fighting a life-threatening condition and this year alone 1,400 children will turn to Make-A-Wish to have their wish granted. The charity needs to raise £6.8 million in 2012 to achieve this.

For more information about Make-A-Wish, please visit www.make-a-wish.org.uk or telephone 01276 40 50 60.

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For more information about this news release please contact:
Hayley Epps: T: 01276 405093 M: 07557563214 E: hayley.epps@makeawish.org.uk

Notes to editors:

1. More photos available if required
2. Please note that Make-A-Wish does not use phrases such as ‘terminally ill’ in order to respect the sensitive nature of life-threatening conditions and what they mean to children and young people and their families. We would ask that this approach is followed and that the term ‘life-threatening conditions’ is used in material for publication.
3. Make-A-Wish should be referred to as Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK in the first instance. Thereafter ‘Make-A-Wish’ or ‘Make-A-Wish Foundation’ is suitable. We would ask that you try to keep ‘Make-A-Wish’ on the same line.
4. Make-A-Wish grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions. The charity was founded in the UK in 1986. Registered charity number: 295672/SC037479 www.make-a-wish.org.uk

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Make-A-Wish Foundation UK grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting a life-threatening condition. There are currently 20,000 children and young people in the UK fighting a life-threatening condition and this year alone 1,400 children will turn to Make-A-Wish to have their wish granted. The charity needs to raise £6.8 million in 2012 and receives no government funding or lottery grants – so every donation really does count.

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