Inspirational Tobias prepares for Yorkshire Day finish to Marathon Challenge

Four months on from starting his Marathon Challenges, the Yorkshire nine-year-old who has captured hearts across the country with his fundraising will complete his second 26 miles on Yorkshire Day.

‘Captain’ Tobias Weller, who has Cerebral Palsy and Autism, cannot walk or stand unaided – let alone run. Yet since 23 March, almost every day, he has been going up and down his street to raise money for his special school, Paces, and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

On 31 May he completed his first challenge – walking a marathon. This Saturday (1 August), he will complete his second, and toughest – walking and running a marathon. Never having run before in his life, it has taken Tobias 40 days, through wind and rain, to finish the latest challenge.

Initially hoping to raise just £500, and inspired by the efforts of Captain Tom Moore, the generosity of people from across the country and beyond has seen Tobias’ fundraising total hit a staggering £132,000 which will be split between the two charities.

He will embark on the final walk and run on Yorkshire Day in his street in Beauchief supported by his mum, Ruth, who has been alongside him every step of the way over the past 18 weeks.

Tobias said:

“I am chuffed to bits with how much money I have raised for my two favourite charities. I cannot thank people enough for supporting me and I cannot believe I have nearly walked and run a marathon! I had never run before I started and look at me now!”

His mum, Ruth Garbutt, said:

“What a four months it has been. I am so proud of everything Tobias has achieved – at the beginning of March he could only go short distances in his walker, then he walked a marathon. At the beginning of June he had never run before, now he can run and has completed another marathon! 

“The money raised is beyond anything I could have hoped for and I am so grateful for all the support from our neighbours, family and friends to the celebrities that we haven’t actually met face to face who have got behind Tobias’s efforts. To each and every person who has donated, thank you for supporting my son.”

Julie Booth, Head of Fundraising at Paces, said: 

“Tobias is an inspiration to us all. He has achieved more than he ever thought possible and single-handedly taken Paces a significant step forward to getting a new home that will mean we can support more inspirational young people like him in the future. 

“On Yorkshire Day, there is no greater symbol of the determination and grit of this county than Tobias. I hope as many people as possible will turn out this weekend to support him as he completes his second unbelievable challenge.”

The money raised by Tobias will go towards their major fundraising campaign to raise £3.5 million towards a new, state-of-the-art facility which will allow Paces to help more children and adults achieve the greatest level of independence they can through a range of supportive physical interventions.

Anyone who would like to donate can do so at www.pacessheffield.org.uk/tobias

Lennie’s fundraising tops £10,000 as the piano-playing eight-year old completes his lockdown challenge

After 80 days, dozens of tunes and support from celebrities, sportsmen and musicians, an eight-year-old from Yorkshire is finishing his fundraising challenge having raised over £10,000.

Lennie Street, from Leeds, has spent lockdown learning songs to play on the piano. He has Cerebral Palsy and Hydrocephalus and isn’t able to stand or walk independently but wanted to challenge himself while at home.

Over the past 12 weeks, he has learnt and played dozens of songs in return for donations for his special school, Paces, who are fundraising to build a new home in Sheffield for children and adults with motor disorders from across Yorkshire.

Initially setting himself a target of £750, Lennie has now raised 13-times that amount after gaining support from a range of famous names. When gift aid is added to the total raised, Paces will receive nearly £12,000.

Among those who have backed Lennie are Gary Barlow, who featured Lennie’s playing in his video ‘This calls for Love’ on social media, England and Manchester United footballer Marcus RashfordPeter Andre, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Nigella Lawson, Martin Kemp, Jo Whiley and Johnny Vegas.

Lennie said:

“I cannot believe how much money people have donated to hear me and my tunes. Everyone has been so generous and so lovely about my piano playing. I love going to Paces and can’t wait to be back at school. I hope this money means we can build our super new home very soon.”

Lennie’s mum Sally said:

“When Lennie set himself the challenge of raising £750 by playing his piano I never imagined the amount of money that would actually be donated. 

“It is humbling for Lennie and for me to have received so much support and I am grateful for the support of every single person – from every celebrity who has raised the profile of what he’s doing to every one of the 440 people who have donated. 

“The generosity means Paces, the school where Lennie has learnt so much, will be one step closer to building a new home which is desperately needed. I’m so proud we’ve been able to help.”

Julie Booth, Head of Fundraising at Paces said:

“Lennie, we are so proud of you and we are forever grateful for raising such an incredible amount of money for our charity! You are an inspiration to us all and you give us hope that we will build a new home for Paces”.

You can still listen to Lennie’s Tunes on his Facebook page at www.bit.ly/ListenToLennie and donate at his JustGiving page at www.pacessheffield.org.uk/lennie.