There’s nothing Lighthouse Stage Door attendant Stephen Collins likes more than a challenge – and if it involves running then so much the better.

His response to our 40th anniversary Challenge 40 campaign for every member of staff, the Board and volunteers to raise at least £40 was to reach for his running shoes.

But where to run?

“I was talking to our duty manager Tom Holmes and came up with this idea that Dorset has two working lighthouses at Portland Bill and Anvil Point so it seemed obvious to run between them – the fact they turned out to be 40 miles apart just sealed the deal,” says Stephen, who ran the South West Coast Path last year in aid of the Dorset Cancer Centre and a local hospice.

“With breaks and a bit of walking I reckon it’ll take about 12 hours. I’m not the fastest but I can keep going at a steady pace for quite a long time. My wife says I’m built for comfort not speed – I think that’s a compliment!”

Stephen has already got the support of BSO chief executive Dougie Scarfe and Dorset School of Acting principal James Bowden, both of whom are keen runners and hope to join the effort. Now he’s throwing down the gauntlet to his Lighthouse colleagues to join him on Sunday 1 July.

“Tom is going to run some of the way with me, but we’re going to break the run down into seven legs and I’m hoping to get some teams to run with me in relays. Even if they can’t run I’m going to need people to man the water stations and checkpoints.

When you do something like this and ask people to sponsor you it has to be quite extreme. I’ve done several marathons, ultra-marathons and 24-hour races and I’ve booked myself into a few between now and July to make sure I keep up the training and commitment. There’s no backing out.”

Stephen has worked at Lighthouse “on and off” for the last six or seven years and has every confidence his fellow members of staff will rally to the cause.

“Everyone says it because it’s true – working here is like being part of a family. In fact my mum works on ticket office, which is how I heard about the job in the first place.

Quite a few people who work here have other jobs as well, which means a lot of people are here because they want to be and on stage door I get to see everybody who comes and goes, such a diverse range of people that work here, perform here, make delivieries, you name it they all have to come through stage door.”

To sponsor or help Stephen’s Challenge 40 run email him at

Published 5 June 2018