Schoolboy sets out on month-long run challenge to help the charity which backs mum's firefighter workmates

A schoolboy runner is tackling a two-mile route every day to help the charity which helps firefighters – just like his mum.

By Fiona Thompson
Saturday, 20th March 2021, 7:00 am

William Young’s mother Vicky Haswell is on the crew of Blue Watch at Farringdon Fire Station and both are members of Sunderland Harriers.

With it likely the club’s training sessions will be able to begin soon as lockdown rules ease, the 11-year-old’s thoughts turned to getting his fitness levels back.

So following a chat with his mum, the pair came up with a plan to cover two miles a day all the way through March together, with the St Aidan’s Catholic Academy pupil deciding to raise funds so he would have an added reason to complete it the task.

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He chose the Fire Fighters Charity, which supports members of the service when they need it most, with much of their cash-collecting events on hold due to the pandemic.

Having set an initial target of £200, William has already raised more than £1,200, with Tyne and Wear Fire Service planning to celebrate this final run at the station as he crosses over the line during a White Watch shift.

He will also be joined by station manager Kevin Burns on the home stretch come Wednesday, March 31.

William Young chose to back the Fire Fighters Charity through his running challenge, inspired by his mum Vicky Haswell's job with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

He has also been accompanied by marathon runner Aly Dixon on one of his evenings out, with she and Vicky friends since they joined the Harriers when they were at school.

Vicky and William have run around Penshaw, Herrington County Park, the city’s Seafront and streets close to their Doxford Park home so far.

Vicky said: “He’s doing really well and he is so keen, he’s getting in from school and getting ready to go out straight away, so it’s a matter of getting a move on and getting out.

William Young on one of his runs around Herrington Country Park.

"He’s really embraced it but he’s found it’s something new we can do together, we’re really close, but he’s said he really likes spending that time together.”

The mum and son plan to keep up their family sessions twice a week even when the club training programme returns.

Donations can be added to his fund via

The Fire Fighters Charity clothing banks are still open with their locations available via

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