Toby's epic charity run is finally over
SCHOOLBOY fundraiser Toby Fletcher has finished his huge run to raise money for a Bristol charity – and topped his £20,000 target.
The 11-year-old from Frampton Cotterell was greeted by cheers and applause as he finished the final leg of 718km Bearathon at Bristol Bears' Ashton Gate, followed by a welcome event back at home, where he ran a lap of honour at Manor School playing field.
Toby raised the money for St Peter’s Hospice, where staff cared for his much-loved grandmother, June, until her death in February 2020.
Known as Nanny Ju by her grandchildren, June shared Toby’s love of rugby, and used to take him to watch Bristol Bears. So in her honour Toby pledged to run 1km for each point the team conceded over the course of the 2021/22 season.
The Bears' leaky defence meant Toby was set a huge total of 718km – equivalent to 17 marathons – and his pledge to run off the points conceded in each game before the next fixture came around meant he had to ruin up to 52km in a week.
Toby started the last 10km of his run at St Peter’s Hospice in Brentry, where he was met by Lenny the Hospice mascot, and the nurses and doctors who thanked him for his efforts.
He was joined on the run by a Hospice nurse, and arrived at Ashton Gate Stadium, to be cheered by many of the hospice and Ashton Gate team, Bristol Rugby supporters and his proud family.
Hospice chief executive Frank Noble presented Toby with a Bristol Blue Glass rugby ball sculpture, and a giant tub of his favourite sweets – Haribo Tangfastics.
Toby, who plays rugby for Frampton Cotterell Under-12s, was then surprised by his favourite Bristol Bears player, Fitz Harding, with a special cake showing him sitting under the rugby posts in this season’s shirt.
The Winterbourne Academy pupil said he was pleased it's all over – but may miss all the support he’s been getting.
He said: "I'm excited about finishing my Bearathon, but also looking forward to the rest – and watching Bristol without worrying about the score!”
Toby’s mum Claire said: "As a family we are incredibly proud of what Toby has achieved. Not only has he raised an amazing amount of money but he’s inspired other young people to take on challenges and go that extra mile.
“There have been so many times he hasn't wanted to run, but the support he’s received from friends, family and most importantly, the rugby community have given him well needed boosts during the challenge.”
To donate to Toby’s Bearathon challenge visit justgiving.com/fundraising/claire-fletcher22.