Say ‘hello’ to runner Dolly in memory of cricketer Tom

Richard Bulmer who will run the Sheffield Half Marathon dressed as Dolly Parton..............................
Richard Bulmer who will run the Sheffield Half Marathon dressed as Dolly Parton..............................

AMONG the runners on Sunday will be Dolly Parton.

At least, it will be Richard Bulmer dressed as the country singer – one of many entrants who will be in fancy dress to draw attention to their fundraising cause.

For Richard, it is St Luke’s Hospice, and he will take to the streets in appreciation of the help it gave one of his cricketing colleagues, Tom Collins, before he died of lung cancer at the age of 48 in 2009.

A couple of years ago team-mates at De La Salle Cricket Club, which plays in the grounds of Beauchief Hall, joined a ‘Crab Walk’ from Millhouses Cricket Club to De La Salle via Hathersage where Tom’s son, also called Tom, plays, raising about £3,500 for the hospice.

He was nicknamed The Crab after his peculiar defensive style of batting, and a Crab Cricket Club continues to play fundraising friendlies.

“Tom was a player we all loved more for his determination, humour and kindness than his flamboyant batting style,” said Richard, aged 49, of Broomhill.

The idea of the fancy dress run was dreamt up in the pub with another cricketer, Jimmy Hartley.

“I suggested we did a duet with him as Dolly Parton and me as Elvis Presley.

“Since then Jimmy has forgotten about this and is now doing some crazy long cycle ride instead that day. I think he’s doing 100 miles in the Peak District dressed as Kylie Minogue.

“So I was left with the dilemma, do I try and raise a few quid or not. The popular consensus in the cricket club was ‘yes I should’ and everyone seems keen to support my effort.”

Richard, a service director in mental health with Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust, decided to do it as Dolly if he raised more than £300 – and that figure has now been passed.

He has taken part in the Sheffield half marathon seven times. “It’s a brilliant occasion and I have raised money in the past.

“People are always being asked for sponsorship and this is something a bit different and a bit of fun and hopefully it will raise a few pounds for St Luke’s.”

Tom, a postman, lived in Burcot Road, Meersbrook, with his wife, Cath. His love of cricket saw him form the Meersbrook Meerkats, bringing members of other clubs to play at Olive Grove.

He continues to leave a legacy at De La Salle, and Richard will add to it on Sunday, dressed the part thanks to free use of an outfit by Mr Benn’s fancy dress shop in Crookes.

“I am not the biggest Dolly Parton fan, although Jolene is a wonderful song. It should be quite entertaining. However, the idea of jumping on a tram at eight in the morning with a lot of athletes, dressed in my Dolly Parton outfit, is slightly embarrassing.”

Sponsors can contact or send a cheque to Dolly, De La Salle CC, Beauchief Hall, S8 7BA, made payable to St Luke’s Hospice.