Stars to honour Kirsty Howard at Manchester 10k

Bryan Robson, Phil Taylor, Director of The Kirsty Club, and Jack P Shepherd

Family, friends and celebrity supporters of the late Kirsty Howard will celebrate her life at this year’s Great Manchester Run.

The Kirsty Club have assembled a star-studded line-up for the 10km run on Sunday, May 22.

Kirsty, who died in October aged 20, wore the No 1 vest in previous races.

Kirsty, who was born with her heart back to front, inspired Kirsty’s Appeal which 10 years ago reached its target of raising £5m for Francis House Children’s Hospice in Didsbury, where she received respite care.

High-profile supporters tackling the 10km course this year include actors Samia Ghadie, from Coronation Street, and former Corrie stars Richard Fleeshman and Scott Wright; singer Jake Quickenden; BBC Radio Manchester presenter Mike Sweeney; and racing drivers Tom Ingram and Oliver Webb.

It is hoped that former Manchester United and England football captain Bryan Robson will represent The Kirsty Club as an honorary starter of the Great Manchester Run. The sporting legend took part in the first Great Manchester Run in 2003.

Speedworks Motorsport, one of the country’s top motor sport teams, are supporting The Kirsty Club at the Great Manchester Run. The Stockport-based outfit has chosen The Kirsty Club as its nominated charity for 2016.

The Kirsty Club supporters
The Kirsty Club supporters gather at the Hilton in Manchester

Phil Taylor, director of The Kirsty Club, said: “I am going to miss having my sidekick Kirsty Howard alongside me on the starting line at the 2016 Great Manchester Run.

“We were together on the starting line since 2003 and I’m delighted that her elder sister Zoe Robinson has agreed to take her place this year and deputise for Kirsty as we celebrate her incredible life.”

The Junior Great Manchester Run on Saturday, May 21, will also pay special tribute to Kirsty.

Entrants will receive a No 1 for the back of their running tops – the number Kirsty wore in every junior run since the event began in 2003.

That number will then be officially retired as a mark of respect.

Ex-Coronation Street star Richard Fleeshman added:  “I first met Kirsty 13 years ago and I was immediately put under her spell.

“She was such a captivating person and had an aura around her like I’d never seen before. Her zest for life and sheer determination inspired me and everyone else who was lucky enough to meet her.

“It’s a few years since I’ve taken part in a Great Manchester Run but following the devastating passing of Kirsty last October and the fact that her team are continuing her legacy to provide help for Francis House Children’s Hospice, I decided it was time to get my trainers out again for May 22.”

The Kirsty Club, formed in 2006, has since raised a further £2.5m and to support their fundraising go to

See the Great Manchester Run website for details on how to enter.