A Fulham man is joining his old school rugby teammates this weekend to raise £10,000 in memory of their former coach’s five-year-old son who died from a brain tumour.
Will Clegg, 26, originally from Oxfordshire, will be joined by a group of 25 ‘Old Abingdonians’ as they attempt the Reading Half Marathon in aid of Blue Skye Thinking on March 22.
The charity was founded by Sally and Andrew Hall (pictured above), both from Oxford, last year in response to their four-year-old son Skye being diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, an aggressive and cancerous brain tumor.
Sadly Skye died peacefully at home on August 29 last year.
Will said: “Out of the blue one day I got a message from my old friend and ex team mate, Francis Gater, about the tragedy that had befallen the Hall family and his plan to launch a mission for us to raise a significant sum of money to support their charity.
“Andrew was my Under 16 rugby coach as well as acting, most likely unbeknown to him, as a mentor to me at school.
“He was a really great man at school, someone who I respected and looked up too. If it wasn’t for him I would have thrown in the towel on my rugby career at school but instead, during the year he coached me, I went on to represent the Schools 1st XV in a Cup Match and eventually Captain of the team in my most senior year.
“Taking part in this race was the least I could do to raise awareness and money for such a worth charity and support Andrew and his family in this way.”
Blue Skye Thinking’s goal is to fund some of the world’s best researchers so that all children diagnosed with brain tumours will have a better chance of survival and a better quality of life post-treatment.
More than 350 children a year in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour but less than 1% cent of cancer funding goes towards research in this area.
All the money raised will go into much-needed research into new treatments for childhood cancer.
Andrew Hall, Director of Sport & P.E. at Abingdon School, founder of Blue Skye Thinking and dad to Skye will be joining them in the race.
He said: “I hadn’t seen Francis for nearly five years when I bumped into him at the Blenheim half marathon last year.
“A few weeks later he got in touch with me with his idea of all the old boys I used to coach, running the race for Skye.
“I was so moved when he told me what a fantastic response he’d received from everyone, including Will, that I had no option but to join them.
“As a rugby coach, you build up such a strong bond with your players, you see the team four or five times a week, and in particular this team, as it was the first one I coached during my first term at the school.
“I haven’t seen some of these boys, now men, since they left school so it will be great to see them all together again and I know they will do me proud on race day.”
To support the Will and the ‘Old Abingdonians’ visit http://www.justgiving.com/Old-Abingdonians-run4skye