Meet the Sunderland boy who can now run a mile - just one year after learning to walk

Hunter is so proud after completing the Mini Great North Run
Hunter is so proud after completing the Mini Great North Run

Brave Sunderland youngster Hunter Maskell - who only began walking a year ago - has completed a prestigious run of more than a mile.

It’s an indication of the fighting spirit of the Ryhope youngster who lifted a Best of Wearside Awards Child of Courage trophy in 2018.

All smiles after Hunter's incredible Mini Great North Run effort.

All smiles after Hunter's incredible Mini Great North Run effort.

It was only in the summer of 2017 that Hunter, now aged 3 and who has cerebral palsy in his left side, took his first steps.

It was such an amazing moment that it made the Sunderland Echo headlines when he took his first steps with the help of the charity Heel and Toe.

But by the summer of 2018, the little battler was reaching a fantastic new milestone - by running the Mini Great North Run.

No-one could be more proud than his mum Chloe Bell, 26, who said: “It was 1.2 miles and he ran the whole lot, bless him.”

He did the Mini Great North Run and he ran the whole 1.2 miles, bless him

Chloe Bell

Chloe also looked back on the Best of Wearside Awards night and said: “It was amazing.”

Hunter was one of 11 children to pick up Child of Courage Awards which were given in memory of Bradley Lowery.

Chloe, who runs MJ’s Dance Supplies, said: “It was good for the kids to win especially as it gives them a chance to feel proud of themselves. It is good to be proud of yourself.”

Mum Chloe - and her mum Carol Bell - were on hand to witness Hunter’s initial first tentative steps.

At the time, Chloe said: “He is a proper little fighter. Every time his balance is knocked, he just gets back up and tries again. I am really proud. He is such a lovely little boy.”

Chloe and partner Gary Maskell, 28, feared it was a moment they would never see. Since then, Hunter has continued to make great progress.

The search is now on to find more Children of Courage to follow in Hunter’s footsteps and Chloe joined the Echo in urging people to enter.

“We loved it. We really enjoyed it,” she said.

On the night of the awards, dad Gary Maskell said: “I am over the moon they all won as you can’t just pick one.

“I am so proud of Hunter. I just love him so much.”

THE CATEGORIES:

Local Hero.

Green Champion.

Student of the Year.

Fundraiser of the Year.

Volunteer of the Year.

Sporting Achievement.

Community Group.

Community Champion.

Child of Achievement.

Child of Courage.

We would love to find some more worthy young winners for this year’s competition and here is how you can enter.

To nominate, send your name, address and telephone number, as well as your email address, if applicable. Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into.

Also send the name of the person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known). Send all of that to Lynn Wild by no later than mid-February.

You can nominate in any one of three ways.

l Email those entries to lynn.wild@jpimedia.co.uk.

l Send them to Lynn Wild, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland. DH4 5RA.

l Visit the website at https://www.bestofwearside.co.uk.