William, eight, conquers charity funds target

A Fylde youngster has conquered his first half marathon, raising £950 for Rosemere Cancer Foundation – at just eight years old.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 3:45 pm

Sports mad William Coward, from Kirkham, a pupil at Kirkham Grammar Junior School, achieved a time of two hours, 10 minutes for the 13 miles-plus distance – a massive step up from his usual two kilometres children’s park run around Lytham’s Park View, which has only just started up again after lockdown.

William, who plays football for YMCA Lytham and rugby at Fylde Rugby Club, split his half marathon into two stages.

He ran from home around Kirkham with godfather Paul Eccles having already raced along the waterfront at Lytham accompanied by dad Andrew, who cycled alongside him.

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Proud mum Caroline said: “William wanted to run the whole distance in one go but we insisted he halved it.

“He is a huge force of energy and has inspired me to run the 5k adult park run, which he also now participates in.

“It was William’s idea to run a half marathon and raise money for Rosemere Cancer Foundation, a charity close to our family’s heart, as a sign off from beavers as he has just moved up to the 2nd Kirkham cub pack.

“We are extremely proud of him and very grateful to everyone, who supported him so generously.”

William’s late great-grandma Lillian Benson, of Kirkham, began the family tradition of fundraising for Rosemere in 1997 when the charity first launched to support the newly opened Rosemere Cancer Centre at the Royal Preston Hospital.

Lillian, her sisters and friends, worked tirelessly, raising £90,000. Caroline said: “When my grandmother was then herself diagnosed with cancer just before William was born, she benefitted from treatment at Rosemere Cancer Centre and the support of Rosemere Cancer Foundation. The care she received allowed her to enjoy the first five years of William’s life.”

Dan Hill, chief officer of Rosemere Cancer Foundation, said: “William has blown us away with his achievement. He has clocked a distance and a time many an adult would be delighted with. He has also picked up the baton in fundraising terms from his late great-grandmother. Just as she has inspired him, I am sure he will inspire those of his generation to try the park run and go for their scouting badges. His parents must be very proud.”

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