Team Sally Army to run London Marathon for those affected by addiction

published on 4 Oct 2016

A Salvation Army centre for people with substance misuse, drug and alcohol issues based in Highworth, Swindon will be the beneficiary of all funds raised by individuals taking part in the London Marathon on behalf of the Salvation Army in 2017.

15 runners will form Team Sally Army next April and take part in the world’s most famous marathon. The team are made up of individuals with moving, inspirational stories behind their reasons for choosing to run on behalf of the Salvation Army, and the Gloucester House residential rehabilitation centre.

One member of Team Sally Army, Andrew, was once a service user at Gloucester House and is now employed there. He said: “I have experienced the many difficulties that addiction can bring to an individual, those close to them and their effect on society. I have chosen to run the London Marathon 2017 to raise money for Gloucester House which offers the chance for men to turn their lives around after years of substance misuse. The money raised will ensure that more men suffering with addiction can experience the same love and support and that I did when I was a service user. I am now working at Gloucester House and I am very privileged to be part of an amazing team of experienced people who give all they have to deliver a unique experience that aims to ignite each individual’s potential and live a new life filled with hope, faith and courage”.

Another member of the Sally Army Team had always wanted to run the London Marathon and when she heard that the Salvation Army team were running to raise funds for Gloucester House, this finally gave her the push to apply. She said: “I am aware of the fantastic work carried out at Gloucester House. I can empathise with those who struggle with addiction having battled with my own addiction to alcohol. After I stopped drinking, I started running and have been sober for six years now. Taking part in this iconic event on behalf of such a vital service is an honour”.

A third team member, who is a solicitor, applied to become part of Team Sally Army to give thanks for the work that the Salvation Army did to help her grandparents following an accident in 1964, and after experiencing first-hand the impact that addiction can have upon family. She said: “We are a ‘normal’family, but it is unbelievable how many people judge someone with an addiction without a second thought, this saddens me, and is something we have experienced first-hand.  I was overwhelmed to read that the Salvation Army provide such services to individuals with addictions, something which I just wish I had known sooner, and that the Salvation Army do not give up, or judge individuals whose lives are plagued with such demons, allowing individuals to finally receive the support they need and break free, to go on a build a successful and happy life.  I firmly believe everyone deserves that chance, and if I did not I would not be sat where I am today, writing this, looking at my husband struggle through his first day of detox. Having watched the London Marathon this year, as I do every year, I all of a sudden had a massive urge to enter for 2017 and raise money for a charity close to our hearts, in honour of my wonderful Nan and Pap, as I know this is what will keep me going for the 26.2 miles and give me strength in my heart and mind.”  

The funds raised by Team Sally Army will go directly into the Buy a Bed, Save a Life fund. This fund is used to enable Gloucester House to offer rehabilitation to individuals where funding for their place cannot be found elsewhere.

A service user of Gloucester House who was offered a place through the Buy a Bed, Save a Life fund said: “Without the kindness and philanthropy of the ‘Buy a bed, Save a Life’scheme I would quite simply not be alive. Without this funding I could never have been able to address my illness of spirit and begin to live again. I am eternally indebted.”

Susan Tollington, Service Manager at Gloucester House said: “We are so grateful to the runners for taking on this huge challenge to raise funds for Gloucester House. We are humbled by all of the effort and hard work that the runners will put in to training and completing the race and wish them all the very best.”

Gloucester House has provided residential rehabilitation for people struggling with addiction, substance misuse, and drug and alcohol issues since 1961. Accepting referrals from across the UK, the treatment that is provided there includes a structured rehabilitation programme, education and training, creative workshops, family support and a resettlement programme.

The Salvation Army passionately believes that no one is beyond hope, however great their problems. So very often, through care, support, practical help and the time that staff and volunteers freely give, people find the strength to turn their lives around. At Gloucester House, staff and volunteers are passionate about igniting the unique potential of every individual. The aim is to inspire clients to embrace on-going change, to build a new life free from addiction.

For more than 150 years The Salvation Army has been transforming lives and continues to do so today in communities across the UK and throughout the world.

To support Andrew in his fundraising for Gloucester House and for undertaking the London Marathon, please visit:

For more information on how to donate to Team Sally Army, please contact on 020 7367 4819 or at