School children take on Kickathon challenge to help Sunderland veterans
Little legs from a Sunderland kickboxing club took on a high-kicking challenge to raise more than a £1,000 for a lifeline veterans charity.
Youngsters aged 6-10 from a weekly kickboxing class at Fitness 2000 gym in Roker took part in a sponsored kickathon to help city charity Veterans in Crisis.
They were joined by Thai Kickboxers from the adult class in the fast-paced feat, which raised £1,058 for Veterans in Crisis, a cause that reaches out the hand of support to dozens of veterans, helping them with problems ranging from mental health difficulties and homelessness to seeking advice about training and jobs.
Kickboxing instructor Stu Rouse, a 2nd Dan with the British All Styles Kickboxing Association and a 1st Dan with the British Combat Association, said: “The adults did 1,000 kicks in an hour, which is a lot tougher than it sounds because you get to about 600 and feel like you can’t kick any more.
“The kids lined up and did 30 kicks on each leg. The kids had longer breaks but they were so focused. It was a lot harder for them but they did really well. I was happy if we raised £400, so for them to raise more than £1,000 in sponsorship far exceeded expectations.”
He added: “Veterans in Crisis is a local charity which does great work so it’s brilliant to be able to give back to the charity and also it’s a great lesson for the kids.”
Fitness 2000 has long supported Veterans in Crisis, which was founded by former Light Infantry soldier Ger Fowler following his own battles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), drink and drugs after leaving the forces in 1991.
Former service personnel who are helped by the charity are allowed to use the gym free of charge so that they can exercise to help boost their mental well being.
Les Ojugbana, owner of Fitness 2000, said “We think it’s a fantastic charity and, unlike other charities, I see who the support affects directly, so it’s a group I will always support.”