Colne teacher’s challenge raises thousands

It has been a physically and emotionally challenging experience that one Colne teacher is never going to forget.

Thursday, 10th April 2014, 9:49 am
CELEBRATIONS: Simon Atkin with his children Joel (9) and Scarlett (7) (S)

But for Simon Atkin (39), head of PE at Fisher More RC High School, all the training, injuries and hurdles have been worth it - as he has raised thousands of pounds for a hospital close to his heart.

Last year we reported that Mr Atkin had pledged to raise £12,000 in 12 months by running 12 marathons. And on Sunday his year of long-distance running came to an end, as he completed the Manchester Marathon, where his journey initially began.

For the father-of-two, who lives in Clayton-le-Moors, Accrington, the gruelling mission has been a way of driving up funds for the children’s Cystic Fibrosis ward at Leeds General Infirmary, where his younger brother Andrew Langthorne (18) was a patient for 17 years.

Mr Atkin, who has also taken on other challenges, including an iron man distance triathlon and the Great North Swim, said: “It has been hard, but it has been absolutely fabulous as well.

“I think I will feel a bit flat in May, as it will be strange not having to run a marathon.

“It has taken over my life for the past year, so it will be weird not having to do a massive long run every month.”

Mr Atkin has been supported along the way by family, friends and colleagues, many of who have taken on and are continuing to organise their own individual challenges.

Students bag packed at Morrisons in Nelson on Sunday to mark Mr Atkin’s last marathon, and in July the keen sportsman will be joining colleagues as they attempt The Three Peaks Challenge.

Mr Atkin’s brother Andrew will also aim to organise a tractor pull over Summer.

Mr Atkin, whose highlight was the Osmotherley Trail Marathon in February, added: “I would like to say thank you to everybody who has got involved.

“The support from Fisher More and the hospital has been amazing. And the whole family has done something along the way.”

Sponsorship is being collected until the end of August. Nearly £8,000 has been collected so far, but it is expected that this will rise to £10,000 following organised events.

Dr Tim Lee, a consultant on the Cystic Fibrosis Unit at the Leeds Children’s Hospital at Leeds General Infirmary said: “To complete one marathon is in itself a great achievement but to do 12 in a year is absolutely fantastic and Simon deserves every congratulation for his efforts.

“Andrew is a great friend of ours as we looked after him for many years until his recent transfer to the adult unit. We are so grateful the family chose us as their cause to support and the money raised will be very gratefully received and will help improve the experience of other young patients who are treated here in Leeds.”

To help Mr Atkin reach his target visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/ourchallenges