Monday, 28 September 2015 00:00

Matt’s courageous coast-to-coast challenge

Written by  Gena Moore
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Matt’s courageous coast-to-coast challenge

A local man is preparing to embark on a running challenge which will see him run over 500km, from Great Yarmouth to Aberystwyth in Wales, in just 14 days.

Matt Roberts, 29, of Newmarket Road, Norwich, set himself the challenge after being diagnosed with arthritis at the age of just 24.

‘In 2010 I was diagnosed with arthritis and since then have been determined not to let that dictate what I do. I’ve always enjoyed running, since the 1500m event at sports day at school, to taking part in various half marathons, so I wanted to continue do so, despite my condition. Amazingly, running on a regular basis has really helped my arthritic condition, so I feel now is the time to take on such a big challenge!’

This will be both a personal challenge for the designer, who works at Farrows creative agency on Thorpe Road, Norwich, and also a crusade to raise awareness and money for charity while he completes the mammoth journey. He has decided to fundraise for local child bereavement charity Nelson’s Journey, and Sussex children’s hospice the Chestnut Tree House.

‘I grew up in Sussex and moved to Norwich to go to the Norwich University of the Arts in 2005. It felt right that where I grew up and my current home were represented from the charities I’ve chosen. Both charities do incredible work for children and their families, so it's not all about raising money, but also about raising awareness of the services they provide to their local communities.

Through my work I was lucky enough to attend the Nelson’s Journey Smiles Awards earlier this year and was incredibly impressed by the work they do in Norfolk. I've wanted to do something for Nelson's Journey ever since, the fact that they help bring smiles back to children who’ve been bereaved is amazing and something that every child should be doing.’

Gena Moore, Funding and Marketing Officer for the charity told us ‘We are incredibly lucky to have supporters like Matt embarking on huge challenges for Nelson’s Journey. We receive very little statutory funding so rely heavily on support from the Norfolk public to help us keep up with the growing demands on our service. The funds from Matt’s challenge will go towards our work with children and young people who have sadly experienced the death of someone important in their lives.’

Despite the challenge looming ahead, Matt is more worried about his stomach than his feet ‘The most difficult part of the run will always be making sure I eat enough - I'll be burning off nearly 2,000 calories a day!’

For more information about Matt Roberts’ challenge visit his website: runmattrun.com or to donate https://www.justgiving.com/runmattrunnelson/

For more information about Nelson’s Journey, please visit their website at www.nelsonsjourney.org.uk.

About Nelsons Journey

During 2014, Nelson’s Journey saw an increase of nearly 20% in the demand for its service (a 25% increase was experienced in 2013). The Norfolk based charity believe this is largely down to local government funding cuts and scaling down of support services for these vulnerable individuals.  During 2014 they received 596 referrals for bereaved children and young people needing support for bereavement issues.

Nelson’s Journey has been operating for 17yrs is a registered charity providing a service for children and young people aged 0-17 years inclusive, living in Norfolk, who have experienced the death of a significant person in their life.  We aim to improve the emotional well being of bereaved children by:  increasing their confidence and self belief, providing education about the causes of death, enabling families to talk openly about their bereavement.  We also provide opportunities to remember those who have died and help children to express and understand their emotions.

Nelson’s Journey endeavours to ‘Bring back smiles to bereaved children’.

It is currently estimated that 1 in 29 school aged children have experienced the death of a parent or sibling, in Norfolk this equates to approximately 3,825 children.  This figure is significantly higher when pre-school children and 17 year olds are included. 

Last modified on Thursday, 25 February 2016 18:52

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