Youngster rush over 5,000 miles to Rio

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With less than 100 days to go until the opening of the Olympic Games in Brazil, pupils at Harrogate prep school Belmont Grosvenor are aiming to race the 5,761 miles to Rio to raise cash for charity.

Youngsters will be swimming and running the distance between London and Rio De Janiero to boost the coffers of their chosen charity for the year, the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF).

Pupils from Reception to Year 6 at the Swarcliffe Hall-based school have started swimming lengths of the pool, as well as running around a pre-set course in the school’s 20-acres of grounds during PE lessons, to collect money for the Leeds-based charity.

For the second year running, the Harrogate prep school has chosen to support the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund after one of their nursery assistant’s underwent emergency heart surgery at the Leeds unit last year.

The Rush to Rio is the first fundraising event of the year – and the school’s charity co-ordinator Christie Whincup is hoping to raise as much as possible for the charity.

Around 400 children undergo open heart surgery at the Yorkshire heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary each year – and 10,000 babies and children use the unit each year.

The CHSF funds equipment, staff posts, resources and training for those who work on the heart wards, and support patients and their families. This year, their focus is to support the new standards created by NHS England, to ensure the region retains the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit.

“All our pupils are excited about taking part in the Rush to Rio fundraising campaign which we are completing in just 17 days – the number of days the Olympics take place in Brazil – and we hope to raise as much money as possible for charity,” said Miss Whincup who added that the charity is close to their hearts.

CHSF Chief Executive Sharon Coyle said she was excited about the school’s fundraising effort.

“Belmont Grosvenor School’s ‘can-do’ attitude is really quite inspiring – we are so grateful to be able to work with Belmont Grosvenor for a second year. “We had a wonderful partnership last year,” she said.