He was beaten to the finishing line by a rhino but one headteacher had thousands of reasons to be proud to have completed the Brighton Marathon.
Michael Ferry, of St Wilfrid’s School, ran the 26.2-mile course on Sunday (April 9) while wearing a curly green wig, after his students raised £18,609 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
With the sun beating down on what proved to be the hottest day of the year so far, Mr Ferry was cheered on at the 22-mile mark by colleagues, students and friends. They included former student Tom Lay, who now works as a fundraising manager for Macmillan.
After completing his run in six hours 38 minutes, Mr Ferry took to social media to declare: “Pipped on the line by the rhino – who cares; thanks to everyone for the support today especially the 22-mile crew.”
He had promised the youngsters he would wear the wig if they managed to raise £9,000. They duly sailed past that mark on their own, raising £9,609.80, before the generosity of nine staff at Barclays saw that total double.
The bank runs a scheme called Matched Fundraising in which it allocates £1,000 to staff members to match money raised for charity. Nine chose to support the St Wilfrid’s effort.
Describing the fundraising efforts of his students, which have been ongoing since September, Mr Ferry said: “It’s been just fantastic to see so many people throwing themselves into it. To think that we’ve got almost £20,000 is just incredible, absolutely incredible.
“I’m just speechless really – and that doesn’t happen very often. That’s a phenomenal amount of money.”
Among the fundraising events were a non-uniform/wear something green day, which raised £1,584.22.
The Christmas raffle brought in £1,653.45, and the bucket collections around the school added £953.50.
In the classrooms, a sixth-form cake sale raised £696.71, there was £40.97 from tutor group 10WB, £129.36 from 7HA and £102.20 from 8WD.
And there was £592.66 from the opening night ticket sales of the school's production of Wind in the Willows.
Ritchard Burrows, of Barclays, who has two daughters at St Wilfrid’s, said: “When we had the opportunity to take part we leapt at the chance. I went back and spoke to the team and literally every member of the team was on board and the results are in that cheque.
"We managed to get nine people who wanted to use their Matched Fundraising to help the school raise money. “It’s the largest Matched Fundraising we’ve done in our local community. It’s a fantastic cause and a fantastic school and we’re proud to support them.”
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