5 December 2018

Lawrence Jones MBE and Fred Done at the launch of the Running Bee Foundation in memory of Mo Done.

With Fred and Mo, the Running Bee.

Earlier this week I launched my latest podcast episode with billionaire bookmaker Fred Done.

The businessman has grown an empire of more than 16 businesses but is most famous as the Betfred boss. But – behind the billionaire status – chatting to the Salford-born businessman, it is abundantly clear how much of a family man he is.

Last night I spoke at an event with Fred to launch The Running Bee Foundation. The charity has been created in memory of Fred’s wife Mo, who passed away in July.

It’s hard not to be moved by the story. This time last year Mo was running as usual with Fred. Just a few weeks later, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. A few short months after the diagnosis, she had passed away.

Mo was a keen runner, tackling marathons across the world with Fred. During her treatment, Chris Bird of Sports Tours International, one of Fred and Mo’s friends, bought a ‘Bee in the City’ in her name. The Bee was designed with runners painted across it – a combination of Mo’s passion for running and for Sports Tours’ races. This then sparked the idea for the Foundation in her memory, led by Sports Tours International.

Just like Mo

At UKFast, we’ve sponsored Sports Tours’ Manchester and Salford 10k runs for several years now. Hearing that they are now to become part of the foundation, with all profits going to local charities, is absolute music to my ears. There is so much that we can do right on our doorstep. Now, all profits from these 10k runs go back into the communities where the events are held to promote health and wellbeing. It’s designed to help smaller initiatives and charities that often get lost in the mix.

At last night’s launch event they revealed the Running Bee Foundation’s new mascot. It’s a bee with pink lipstick, bright blue eyes and big eyelashes – ‘just like Mo’. Chris described how he wanted to ‘influence something really positive in Mo’s name’. What a wonderful motivation – to help boost young peoples’ health and wellbeing, while commemorating an important woman in their lives.

The Foundation launch and the podcast are reminders to me of how important it is – alongside the business acumen and focus – to support each other, to be a family in work, at home and in the broader community.

Listen in to the full podcast to hear Fred’s story and the journey so far.

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