Young footballer raises £2,000 for Northampton General Hospital children's wards by running 100km in June

Mum: 'I think he's proud of himself and feels like he's made a slight difference'

By Jack Duggan
Thursday, 1st July 2021, 2:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st July 2021, 2:37 pm

A young footballer raised more than £2,000 for Northampton General Hospital's children's wards by completing a personal challenge to run 100km in June.

Reiss Wheatley-Crane crossed the finish line at the Billing Road hospital on Tuesday (June 29), having jogged 101.8km in total in aid of a new outside play area.

The 12-year-old Northampton Town Football Club academy player decided to help the hospital as he spent the first weeks of his life there after being born prematurely.

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Reiss Wheatley-Crane crosses the finish line at Northampton General Hospital after running 100km in June for the children's wards' appeal for a new outdoor play area

His mother, Gemma-Louise, said: "We're so proud of him, just his sheer motivation. He's been really determined along the way to do what he set out to achieve.

"There's was no doubt he would complete it, he set himself this challenge and he was going to do it.

"I think he's proud of himself too and feels like he's made a slight difference - it's a drop in a well but every little helps."

Northamptonshire Health Charity is raising £130,000 for the new outdoor play area for children while they are at the Paddington or Disney wards.

Northampton General Hospital staff with Reiss Wheatley-Crane after crossing the finish line on his 100km running challenge

Gemma-Louise, who works at the hospital, suggested the appeal to Reiss when he decided to raise money for charity after an inspirational assembly at Northampton Boys School.

She set up an online fundraising page with an initial target of £250, which was reached very quickly and since been doubled to £500 - hitting £2,000 by the end.

Community fundraiser Michelle Leighton added: “We have been really impressed with Reiss’s approach to his challenge and know he has got up and done some really early 6am runs before school.

"It has been a pleasure to support him on his fundraising and running journey, he has been so dedicated and committed to supporting the new children’s play area.

Reiss Wheatley-Crane's Northampton Boys School friends and Northampton Town FC academy under-12s teammates helped him chalk off 4km last week

"We have been blown away with the amount of money he has already raised, over £2,000 to date which will make a massive difference to our appeal.

"We would like to say a special thank you to Reiss for being such a great ambassador for our charity."

Reiss, of Little Billing, averaged around 3km every day to hit his target, squeezed in around his school work and training for Northampton Town academy under-12s.

As part of his efforts, he ran 4km around the outside of the astroturf pitch at Northampton Boys School with the support of his fellow pupils and team mates.

Headmaster Richard Bernard said: "When the under-nine Northampton Town academy team heard about the tough challenge that Reiss from the under-12s was undertaking for such a good cause they were very keen to support him.

"Not only did the squad want to contribute their pocket money but they also wanted to run with Reiss.

"It’s fantastic to see players from both the under-12 and the under-nine squads out this afternoon, albeit socially distanced, to help Reiss chalk off at least 2km of his incredible 100km target!

"Several of the boys running today have benefitted from the outstanding care of the NGH children’s wards in the past and are delighted to have the opportunity to give something positive back!

"NSB School are also extremely proud of Reiss for taking on such a difficult but inspirational assignment."

Gemma-Louise said Reiss has already set himself his next challenge for 2022 - to cycle 500km in a month - and she thanked everyone who has donated and backed him.

"The support has been amazing, we're so grateful for everyone who has donated," she said.

"I never thought it would get to the heights of £2,000 - I thought we would be lucky to touch £1,000 - it's absolutely amazing."