80-80-80 challenge is off and running

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This year, Rotherham running man, Ray Matthews celebrates his 80th birthday but he’s not about to put up his feet and take it easy.

To mark the occasion, Ray has launched his 80-80-80 challenge. The campaign encourages children from at least 80 schools to run at least 80 miles, in line with his Run a Mile a Day initiative with each school looking to raise at least £80 in support of Age UK Rotherham.

Ray is also keen to open this challenge up to everyone of all ages and donate or sponsor others to get involved to run, walk or hop-skip-and -jump a mile during his birthday.

Age UK Rotherham is a local charity that has been working with Rotherham’s older people, their families and carers for more than 30 years.

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Everyone has been affected by the impact of Covid-19 but older people have been hit particularly hard. Whilst many older people have found ways of coping and shown great resilience, some have not managed so well. Last year, the charity started to adapt the way it works so that it could continue to support older people in a Covid safe way. But this is now a critical time as older people begin to recover from the effects of the pandemic. The money raised through this event will help Age UK to continue to adapt and provide enhanced services and support to them to help them to recover as well as they can.

Chief Executive Lesley Dabell said: “Between August 2020 and March 2021, in addition to providing our usual services such as information and advice and help around the home, we made over 2,000 wellbeing calls to check that people were OK and helped people come together socially through Virtual Activity Groups, hosting over 200 group sessions with activities such as bingo and quizzes.

“We now want all older people in Rotherham have the best possible recovery from the pandemic that they can have in terms of their physical, mental and social wellbeing. We want to be able to support those who are most isolated or vulnerable so they are not left behind as the rest of the community recovers.”

Ray previously successfully completed a challenge to run 75 marathons in 75 days starting on his 75th birthday to raise funds for Newman School in Rotherham.

Lesley added: “We’re very proud to have Ray as an Age UK Rotherham Ambassador – he’s a familiar face among Rotherham’s running community, passionate about encouraging people of all ages to move more and a determined fundraiser for worthy causes in Rotherham.

“We hope people of all ages will show their support and take part in these events, whether they run, walk, cycle or toddle they’ll be helping kick start our recovery appeal so we can carry on being there for older people in Rotherham.”

Schools can sign up and donations can be made via Ray’s website here.

Images: Age UK / St Bede’s

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