Toby, 11, raises more than £20,000 for city's hospice
Toby arriving at Ashton Gate at the end of his Bearathon
Eleven-year-old schoolboy Toby Fletcher has a fundraising challenge for St Peter's Hospice in Brentry, raising more than £20,000.
Bristol Bears fan Toby pledged to run one kilometre for every point conceded by the team last season in support of the charity, which looked after his rugby-mad grandmother - Nanny June - after she was diagnosed with cancer.
It’s been a big ask as the team haven’t had the best of seasons and Toby reckons he’s run 718km in total - the equivalent of running from Bristol to Germany - sometimes in rain, storms, and hot weather.
Preparing for his final run, Toby arrived at the hospice in Brentry where he was surprised to be met by Lenny, the hospice mascot, and the nurses and doctors who’d turned out to thank him for his endurance and effort. They waved him off to run the 10km from Brentry across the Downs to the Bears' Ashton Gate Stadium.
Arriving to cheers and applause, Toby, who lives in Frampton Cotterell, was met by many of the St Peter’s Hospice and Ashton Gate team, Bristol Rugby supporters and his hugely proud family.
Pitch side, St Peter’s Hospice chief executive, Frank Noble presented Toby with a Bristol Blue glass rugby ball sculpture to mark his achievements and a giant tub of Haribo Tangfastics (his preferred choice of sweets) Toby was then surprised by his favourite Bristol Bears player, Fitz Harding with a special cake on which he’s sitting under a goal post in this season’s shirt.
As well as the effort, Toby’s had fun along the way too. He ran with rugby legend Joe Joyce, was thanked for his efforts by former Scottish International player, Thom Evans on The One Show, he’s met all the Bears players in the changing room and run around the pitch at half-time with fans cheering for him.
As the challenge came to an end, Toby said: “I'm excited about finishing my Bearathon but also looking forward to the rest and watching Bristol without worrying about the score.”
Toby’s mum Claire has been supporting him every step of the way. Claire said: "As a family we are incredibly proud of what Toby has achieved, not only has he raised an amazing amount of money but he’s inspired other young people to take on challenges and go that extra mile.
“There have been so many times he hasn't wanted to run but the support he’s received from friends, family and most importantly, the rugby community have given him the boosts he needed during the challenge. He has loved the support from the Bristol Bears players and staff and cannot wait to cheer them on next season.”
To support Toby’s Bearathon challenge visit his Just Giving page. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/claire-fletcher22