A Dursley girl has been going the extra mile to raise money for the NHS by doing circuits of her garden.
Ellie Fox, 9, has been running laps since Monday 20 in support of essential care workers during the Coronavirus pandemic, and has smashed her initial fundraising target of £63 by a huge benchmark.
Josie, her mother, confirmed that Ellie had just passed a whopping £1,200 in donations, with more than two days still to go.
She said: “We didn’t have any idea it would be like this really – we thought that £100 would be too much and we agreed that it would just be close family and friends who donated, but we reached our initial target of £63 the first night the fundraiser went up.”
Josie, who is a teaching assistant at Cam Hopton C of E Primary, explained how Ellie was inspired by Captain Tom Moore, 99, who completed one hundred laps around his garden to raise a staggering £28 million for the NHS.
“We wanted to do something similar and raise some money for the NHS, so we came up with ‘the seven day grandparent challenge’.
“As her dad’s grandparents aren’t together she has three sets of houses to visit and fundraise for, and we decided that the distance could be the total mileage to each of their houses.
“Lots of calculations later we worked out that it would be 6,370 laps, which divided by seven comes to something like 910 laps, which Ellie has been doing every day.
“After that we set up a JustGiving page, set the target for £63 so each lap would be worth a 1p donation, and it’s just gone a bit crazy since!”
The money raised by Ellie will be going towards the same NHS charity that Captain Moore has been supporting.
Josie told the Wotton Times how deeply Ellie had been inspired by the army veteran.
“She saw him on the telly and thought that if he could do what he did at his age then she wanted to do something as well.
“She’s been doing loads: she’s been out clapping on the balcony like we all have been on Thursday nights and she’s been putting posters on the drive saying ‘We love you NHS’, so something along the way has really captured her imagination.”
So far Ellie has run more 36 miles, which is over 3,000 laps of the garden.
“She’s finding it tough; normally one of us is shouting words of encouragement or out there with her, but she tends to get better as she gets closer to the end of the day and realises that she’s nearing the 900 lap mark.
“She does a little video post every night and we put that on Facebook to update everybody, and she’s had cards and messages of support, so she’s doing well.
“This time last year she had quite a nasty fall out of a tree – luckily she didn’t break anything, but it was quite a high fall and she did quite a bad twist on her ankle.
“It’s been nice to share that memory on Facebook and show how far she’s come since last year.”
Josie added that one of the teachers at Cam Hopton C of E Primary, which Ellie also attends, has helped to organise a Zoom call with some of the children there so they can run with her.
“Obviously there’s only a handful of children in school at the moment but they’re going to run virtually with her for half an hour or so, so that’s been nice, the school has given loads of support.
“The more friends that share our story online, the more people hear about it, and that’s how it spreads – through word of mouth.
“Someone we know got in touch yesterday to tell Ellie that she’d inspired her: she’d had some bad news in the family and hadn’t felt like doing anything, but she said reading about Ellie made her get up and go for a run herself, which is brilliant.
“Ellie can’t believe that at her age what she’s doing is inspiring other people, but I’ve tried to make her realise that that’s how it happens – I’ve just been trying to make her aware of how proud we are.”
If you want to make a donation to Ellie’s JustGiving page, you can follow the link here: https://bit.ly/3bFi0JG.