Wigginton teenager Jonny Cole ran 5K everyday in February to raise money for a York child bereavement charity. He was cheered along his final run by Haxby and Wigginton residents, who helped him raise more than £5000, and his accomplishment has attracted the attention of some notable athletes on Twitter.
On 28 February, local residents lined the route of fifteen-year-old Jonny Cole’s daily 5K—the last 5K of over 140km that he ran throughout February (through snow, ice, rain, and sun) to raise funds for Bereaved Children Support York.
On Twitter, Jonny’s efforts attracted the attention of former Triathlon World Champion Jonny Brownlee, former Olympic athlete Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, and BBC football commentator Guy Mowbray. Brownlee called Jonny’s accomplishment “very impressive,” Ennis-Hill hailed Jonny as an “incredible young man,” and Mowbray tweeted, “Keep it up Jonny lad!!”
After completing his final run, Jonny said: “I feel good! There were people cheering and clapping all the way round, which I didn’t expect. One person even had a sign with ‘Go Jonny!’ on it. It was totally unexpected and really nice. I’m amazed at how much people have contributed. Now it is finally finished I’m going to have a long lie down.”
Two friends, who play alongside Jonny at local team Wigginton Grasshoppers FC, accompanied him on his last run. “It was a great boost at the end—it really helped. In fact, everyone’s support has been fantastic. I’m really grateful,” Jonny said. Wigginton Grasshoppers FC contributed £400 to Jonny’s latest total of £5,233.
Jonny, a pupil at Joseph Rowntree School, lost his dad Neil to a heart attack when he was eight. His mother Jo set up Bereaved Children Support York when she realised there was no local group to help Jonny negotiate the grief of their sudden loss. Since 2016, the charity has helped more than 200 children from across Yorkshire, offering much-needed counselling to bereaved children in York, holding group sessions and social activities for families from all over Yorkshire.
Jo, 46, said: “I’m immensely proud of Jonny, as are other members of Bereaved Children Support York. They wanted to be here to celebrate Jonny’s last run, but they couldn’t because of lockdown. Quite a few of them, however, ran 5K alongside Jonny, on their own where they are. They set off at 1pm, as Jonny did, [ … ] so they were joining him in spirit.”
Pre-lockdown, Bereaved Children Support York ran regular drop-in peer support sessions, in addition to social trips and activities for children and their parents. Now it is trying to bring people together online and (in limited numbers, of course) face-to-face; it also employs four bereavement counsellors on a sessional basis.
To make a donation, visit Jonny’s Just-Giving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jonny-cole.