AN ANDOVER vicar is swapping his dog collar for a running vest as he prepares to run the London Marathon for a cause very close to his heart.

Reverend Lee Davies, vicar of St Michael’s, in Knight Enham, and St Paul’s, in Smannell Road, will run the marathon in aid of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

In October 2016, Rev’d Davies’ daughter, Annie-Joy, was rushed to hospital in diabetic ketoacidosis – a serious complication of diabetes. The incident nearly killed her.

Annie-Joy survived but was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. The disease affects 400,000 people in the UK and can completely change a person’s life.

“It’s dramatically affected day-to-day life,” said Rev’d Davies. “It’s turned it upside down.

“We’re constantly managing her blood sugar and keeping an eye on her.

“It’s really affected her school life. She was happy in school before but after her diagnosis she doesn’t want to go some days. She finds relationships hard.

“It’s been quite a ride really.”

Annie-Joy has battled on, with JDRF offering help along the way.

“She’s doing OK. Funnily enough in April she will move onto some of the new technologies that JDRF have helped research.

“JDRF are the ones that supported us the most. For everyone new they diagnose they send a teddy bear called Rufus as well as information packs to help you get your head around diabetes.

“Rufus has been a major help. She’s practised doing her insulin injections on him before doing it on herself.

“He’s more than just a teddy bear. In many ways he’s been like a mentor.”

Rev’d Davies got back into running after attending Saturday morning parkrun events at Charlton playing fields. But the marathon will make uncharted territory.

“I started running again two years ago at the park runs in Charlton. My son got into running and that inspired me to start again.

“Training’s been hard – harder that I thought. I’ve had a couple of injuries.

“I’ve certainly never run anything past 10k before.”

Rev’d Davies is currently at 80 per cent of his funding target.

To donate, go to,

There will also be a charity car boot sale event at St Pauls Church & Community Centre, Smannell Road on Saturday, March 23.