More than 250 pupils, families and staff from St Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy in Marple Bridge came together to take part in a marathon relay and raise over £3,000.
The fundraiser was organised by the school’s PTA committee which started planning the event after the country went into lockdown.
Members of the school community were asked if they would like to run, walk, skip, cycle, scoot or hop part of a 26-mile marathon route around Marple Bridge.
The marathon took the form of a relay with each participant given a distance and route to cover before passing on to the next person. Each person who took part collected their own sponsorship.
Anna Ashton, a teaching assistant at the school, ran the whole distance with all of the participants and the final section of the marathon was completed by headteacher Fionuala Boucher.
She said: “We had 123 children take part and there were 250 people altogether. The PTA plotted out the route; each person was asked to run to the next participant’s house or a place that was close by. Anna did the whole distance, accompanying, everyone; I had the privilege of joining the last leg, which was from the school gate and around our new running track, before crossing the finish line.
“This has definitely been one of our most successful fundraising events in recent years and we had a fantastic uptake from the school community. I think it really showed that we were still connected, even though many of us were not able to be together physically through lockdown.
“I feel incredibly proud of the school community. It was really nice for Anna to be centre stage: she runs the cross-country club as well as other sports activities at school andis a real inspiration. Cross country is a bit of a tradition at our school – often 50 or so turn up for the weekly club with Anna.”
Anna said: “It was a great event, running a marathon surrounded by happy, enthusiastic fun-filled St Mary children and on a sunny day! I loved to see their faces light up as we approached each station. It was wonderful to see their talented running abilities and the support from their parents and our very own PTA Support Vehicle. As I approached school, in the final stage of the marathon, the crowds had gathered, socially distanced, to wave and cheer us on. It will certainly be a day for me to remember, running the first ever St Mary’s Lockdown Marathon Relay.”
The money raised will be used to buy equipment for pupils in school which will be selected from a wish list drawn up by teachers.
Kate Scott, from the school’s PTA, said: “Our aim was to try to get 42 families involved – so that each household could run 1km each. Our families were all so keen and created such a buzz that actually we ended up with double the number of households we needed.
“The most incredible aspect of the day for me was that, despite around 250 people being involved in the event, not one single person let the team down. Every participant (without exception) was ready and waiting excitedly when we arrived at their house. The families had all decorated their houses for the event and had spread the word so that there were lots of neighbours out cheering as the relay team arrived. The children each gave their section (and usually some more) their all.
“During this difficult time apart, it was awe-inspiring to see the school family reunited by the linking of their homes in this way.
“We had hoped to raise around £1,000 to compensate in some way for the loss of so many fundraising events since Easter. We were staggered that our lovely families managed to raise over £3,000 in sponsorship.”
Picture: Teaching assistant Anna Ashton crossing the line at St Mary’s marathon relay event.