Young Mansfield boys raise money for primary school during lockdown

Two Mansfield schoolboys have joined together to complete a running and cycling challenge to raise money for their primary school during lockdown.

Thursday, 16th July 2020, 11:17 am
Updated Thursday, 16th July 2020, 11:38 am

Best friends, William Burton, of Farnsfield and AJ Coleman, of Bilsthorpe ran and cycled a combined distance of 152 kilometres over the last four weeks as part of Marvel’s At Home Superheroes challenge.

The competition set children a target to walk, run or swim at least 20 kilometres in their living room, garden or neighbourhood from June 15 to July 15.

Anyone was encouraged to enter Marvel’s exercise challenge as long as all solo participants and at least one team member considers themselves to have a disability.

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Close friends William Burton (left) and AJ Coleman (right) decided to raise money for their school during lockdown.

William, who was diagnosed with autism in 2018, and his close friend AJ exceeded the initial target distance and raised £1,079 for Kirklington Primary School in Newark in order to improve their outdoor learning facilities.

The five-year-olds crossed the finish line at their school yesterday, (Wednesday, June 15) and received a medal each from headteacher Tracy Burn-Smith after completing a a 4.8 mile cycle celebrate their final day of the month-long challenge.

AJ’s mum Keeley Ward, 43 said: "It's fantastic – it is such a good achievement for the boys to do together. They are best friends.

"William has got autism anyway so being outdoors is vital for William, it's a real let off of energy for him.

Best friends AJ Coleman (left) and William Burton (right) relaxing after completing their running and cycling challenge yesterday.

"William is a big part of AJ's life so they are always out being active so it just seemed a really natural thing to do and they are always together doing stuff.

"They are over the moon and really pleased at what they've achieved.

"They will be in Kirklington for a few more years to come yet and for the boys to be able to see what the money has gone to."

The boys originally intended to attempt a triathlon but with swimming pools still closed at the start of June due to the Covid-19 crisis, they opted for a running and cycling based challenge instead.

Mums Katie Burton and Keeley Ward came up with the idea for the youngsters to raise money for the school, after teacher Frankie Marshall became a Forest School leader.

A Forest School is an outdoor education scheme which provides students with natural spaces to learn personal, social and technical skills, which might also including going on sensory walks, foraging and tree climbing.

Keeley added: "We know the school are investing in that and it was a bit of support for the school to help them get the outdoor area upgraded. The outdoor learning side of it will be vital in September when they go back.

"The money will help them make improvements to the outdoor area and get equipment to help them have an outdoor learning space which is vital for the children.

"We are part of a fantastic school, we've got some fantastic staff there that go above and beyond and they've worked really hard there over the last few months.

"It’s just about giving back to the school and supporting them, as we know it will make a big difference.

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