RUNNERS dashed around the paths and bridleways of an Oxfordshire village to raise money for their local pre-school and church.

The 11th annual Long Wittenham fun run was held on Sunday with more than 100 contestants taking part.

Starting next to the Plough Inn in High Street, the five kilometre route covered part of the nearby Neptune and Paradise Woods.

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Organiser Prew Bowtell said: “It was a splendid turn out from villagers and people visiting.

"It goes to show how people are so supportive of community events in Long Wittenham. Our thanks go to all those people who helped including race admin and the many marshals around the course, and the Plough pub for allowing the use of the garden.

"We hope the event will have raised lots of money for the pre-school and bells appeal – events close to the heart of the village.”

The winner of the run, contested by a total of 115 men and women, boys and girls, was soldier David Branfoot who’s based in Didcot.

The army warrant officer ran the 5k in 18 minutes and 15 seconds.

In second place was Royston Oxendale from Wantage who took 19.10 and third was Tim Perkins from Long Wittenham in 19.28.

First home in the women’s event was Rebecca Bolton who clocked 22.56, closely followed by nine-year-old Helen Krabben (23.09) and Julia Pennington (25.05).

Course records were set by Helen Krabben (Under 12 Girls), Julia Pennington (women over 50) and Connor Morgan, who smashed the under 12 boys record in 19.30.

Part of the funds raised by the event will go towards the appeal to restore the six bells at the 12th century church of St Mary's.

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Bell ringing sessions take place weekly at the church on Monday evenings.

The pre-school, which caters for children aged between two and five years old, will also benefit.

After the race there was a barbeque in the garden of the Plough, and awards were presented by event organisers Tom and Prew Bowtell, with help from Emma Newman, who was in charge of the public address.

The Fun Run has a long history stretching back to the early 1980s when it was organised by Long Wittenham Athletic Football Club.

The award to the most successful male village contestant went to Tim Perkins and Suzy Bowtell took the prize in the local women’s category.

The Parish Council's Family Shield prize was awarded to the Morgan family, father David, Connor,11, Spencer, 9, and Myka aged seven.