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'Virtual marathon' to raise funds for village schools and King's Lynn Foodbank




With the usual spring and summer events being cancelled due to the pandemic, two West Norfolk village schools have teamed up to raise vital funds through a 'virtual marathon' challenge.

Watlington Community Primary School and Watlington Preschool will be splitting funds raised between the schools and King's Lynn Foodbank.

As part of the challenge, villagers and other participants are asked to run, walk, cycle or scoot 26.2 miles over a period of time before the end of July.

Oliver and William Oakley, ages 9 and 5 respectively, taking on the Watlington Virtual Marathon challenge. Picture: SUBMITTED
Oliver and William Oakley, ages 9 and 5 respectively, taking on the Watlington Virtual Marathon challenge. Picture: SUBMITTED

Organiser Sarah Oakley of the PTA team said: "The preschool, especially, relies heavily on fundraising activities every year and obviously the school does a lot of fundraising to pay for extra things for the kids, including buses and subsidising school trips.

"We were trying to work out how we could continue with some fundraising while the schools are closed."

Entrants have until May 31 to register for the challenge, and are encouraged to upload videos and pictures of them completing the 26.2 miles online afterwards through the UK School Run website.

Oliver and William Oakley, ages 9 and 5 respectively, taking on the Watlington Virtual Marathon challenge. Watlington Primary School is in the background Picture: SUBMITTED
Oliver and William Oakley, ages 9 and 5 respectively, taking on the Watlington Virtual Marathon challenge. Watlington Primary School is in the background Picture: SUBMITTED

Among those taking part is Karen Smith, a special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) practitioner at Watlington Preschool, who is running the equivalent distance of Lynn to Paris, equating to roughly 380 miles.

She said: "To encourage people to take part, I thought I would take up an even bigger challenge myself. To keep with the marathon theme, I will run at least 26.2 miles per week until the end of July, finishing with a full marathon on or around the last day."

There are 165 children at Watlington Primary School and 51 children at Watlington Preschool, and in normal circumstances, the schools would raise roughly £1,000 at this time of the year through a yard sale.

Karen Smith is running 26.2 miles every week until the end of July the complete a full marathon on the last day of the Watlington fundraiser challenge. Picture: SUBMITTED
Karen Smith is running 26.2 miles every week until the end of July the complete a full marathon on the last day of the Watlington fundraiser challenge. Picture: SUBMITTED

Other fundraising events which have been cancelled include a Ladies' Night which was intended for mums to "have a night off" last weekend.

Mrs Oakley said: "We won't cover what we would normally get so we are trying to do a few things and getting our thinking caps on for what else we can do right now."

Anyone is encouraged to sign up for the 'virtual village marathon', including those living further afield.

Oliver and William Oakley, ages 9 and 5 respectively, taking on the Watlington Virtual Marathon challenge. Picture: SUBMITTED
Oliver and William Oakley, ages 9 and 5 respectively, taking on the Watlington Virtual Marathon challenge. Picture: SUBMITTED

To register, visit https://www.ukschoolrun.com/watlington.html where you can also upload your challenge. The schools have also set up a Facebook page for the marathon fundraiser which can be found at www.facebook.com/WatlingtonCommunityPrimary.PTA



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