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Tony Stevens, 69, on running the half-marathon Hackney Caribbean Elderly Organisation

PUBLISHED: 17:22 15 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:22 15 May 2018

Tony Stevens in a marathon in 2008

Tony Stevens in a marathon in 2008

TOny stevens

Tony Stevens, 69, is hoping to raise £1,000 for the Hackney Caribbean Elderly Organisation (HCEO) when he runs the Hackney half-marathon on Sunday.

Tony Stevens in a marathon in 2008Tony Stevens in a marathon in 2008

Tony chairs the senior citizens group, which was set up 33 years ago, and the money will go towards its lunch club, arts and crafts, memory group, keep fit and annual outings.

He’s hoping it’ll be a breeze – he’s run 18 marathons and half-marathons in the past.

His first was the East London Half Marathon in 1990, which went through Clapton and Stamford Hill down to Whitechapel.

The last was in 2014 when his knee “went” – but he’s not worried.

Tony Stevens in a marathon in 2008Tony Stevens in a marathon in 2008

“I’m saying that a bit over confidently,” he said, “but if I have any problem on Sunday it’ll be because I haven’t trained properly and simply because I’m not as young as I used to be.”

Tony chose to work with HCEO, which has members in their 90s, “because I’m getting a bit senior now”.

“I’m turning towards the needs of elder persons, and also the particular needs of what the council calls culture-specific needs,” he said.

Growing up in Newham, Tony came to the East End in 1969 to run a playground in Old Ford.

He became a music teacher at the Daneford Boys School in Shoreditch in 1972, before setting up a charity promoting volunteering among young people.

“I took some boys to Africa in 1977, and one of them wanted to go back,” he said. “In 1980 I came to a crossroads – did I want to stay in teaching or set up a small international charity for East Enders?”

He chose the latter and named it the Daneford Trust “for no other reason than convenience”.

It saw him spending a 15-month stint in South Africa where he lived with a doctor and a priest.

“It was the biggest experience of my life,” he said. “We kept our noses clean and did our good works. It’s part of history thankfully now, but it taught me all I needed to know about racism. It taught me a lot.”

It was one of the charity’s alumni, Eddie Clayton, who invited Tony to become a trustee for HCEO in 2015, where Eddie had gone on to work.

“I was a governor for many years but since 1996 I’ve been working with older people,” said Tony. “One thing led to another. I’m a bit of a do-gooder.”

If you’d like to sponsor Tony, visit uk.gofundme.com/hackney-half-marathon-run-2018.

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