Marathon events planned to help support Willoughby School

Willoughby School headteacher James Husbands and parent-governor David Conlon who are raising funds
Willoughby School headteacher James Husbands and parent-governor David Conlon who are raising funds

Parent Dave Conlon is planning a sponsored 26-mile indoor row and a marathon distance walk to raise funds for Willoughby School.

The 44-year-old is full of praise for the school, in South Road, Bourne, which cares for pupils aged between two and 19 with profound, severe and complex learning needs.

His son, Matthew, seven, has Down’s Syndrome and Dave says that since joining the school three years ago he has made amazing progress.

To say thank you, Dave is planning a couple of gruelling fundraising challenges later this month.

On Wednesday, March 22, he will row 26-miles on a rowing machine at Universal Fitness in Bourne which is likely to take around three -and-a-half-hours.

Three days later, he will be joined by Willoughby School headteacher James Husbands and others for a walk around the perimeter of Rutland Water.

Dave, who lives in West Villas, Bourne, has been a parent governor at the school for the past 18 months.

He said: “Willoughby School is very highly thought of and attracts pupils from across the region.

“Since Matthew has been going there the change in him has been fantastic. His sign language is coming along great, he has many friends there and is very happy.

“School budgets are going down these days and there just isn’t the money available to buy all the equipment 
needed.

“I enjoy going to the gym and my personal trainer told me a while ago he did the equivalent of a marathon – 42,000 metres – on a rower. I like a challenge and decided to start working towards that myself.

“I have been training since October last year and have already completed the distance once in practice. As well as rowing a marathon, I decided to walk one too.”

Dave wants to raise at least £500 which will be put towards the £5,000 cost of a Acheeva Learning Station – a special multi-position bed which can be used by severely disabled children in the classroom.

Headteacher James is looking forward to the Rutland Water walk and, in keeping with the marathon theme, has also decided to lose 26 pounds in weight to raise cash too.

He said: “I’m a PE teacher by training but as I’ve moved into leadership and management roles I haven’t been as active as I should have been.

“I’m going to exercise a lot more and make some other lifestyle changes.”

James, 40, is also hoping to raise around £500. He added: “We currently have one Acheeva Learning Station in the school and it is great, but we would love to buy another.

“Government funding covers essential running costs at the school but additional pieces of equipment like this we have to buy ourselves.

“I’m delighted Dave is raising money with his rowing challenge and look forward to joining him for the walk around Rutland Water.”

To sponsor Dave, visit www.gofundme.com/willoughby-school-marathon-fund

To sponsor James, visit www.gofundme.com/alexanders-fund-willoughby-school