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Liverpool youngster inspired by rugby heroes smashes fundraising target ahead of charity walk

1 month ago

Liverpool youngster inspired by rugby heroes smashes fundraising target ahead of charity walk
Ted Reader

Young Liverpool fundraiser Ted Reader has smashed his £500 target with more than five weeks to go to a 15-mile charity walk through the city.

Ted, eight, from Page Moss, is just £60 away from £1,000 and doubling his cash pot – after being inspired to do something positive by former rugby player Rob Burrow and his teammate Kevin Sinfield.

Dad Simon, 51, says: “We were up early one morning watching a BBC documentary about Kevin Sinfield and the fundraising he has been doing since Rob Burrow was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

“They’re both amazing.”

And he adds: “After we’d watched it Ted turned to me and asked what we could do to raise money for a good cause.”

Young fundraiser Ted Reader
Young fundraiser Ted Reader

It led to Ted raising around £2,000 last year for St Andrew’s Community Network which operates a community of food pantries across the city, as well as offering free debt and benefits advice.

This year he wanted a new challenge and so, on Saturday, May 25, he is walking 15 miles from St Andrew’s Church in Clubmoor on a six-hour lap through Liverpool as part of the network’s MAYke a Difference Campaign.

Ted says: “I’m doing my walk because I feel it’s sad for people out there who need money for food, but they don’t have enough money.

“All the money and donations we get will help lots of different people.”

Simon, a former social housing worker who now works for the breast care screening units at Broadgreen and Royal Liverpool University Hospitals, explains: “When Ted asked what we were going to do this year I said I didn’t know if we’d get the same support as last year because people were very generous and you’re conscious you’re asking the same people again.

“That’s why I suggested we ask for food donations as well.”

Ted, along with Simon, will be walking along Queens Drive through Walton, in to Bootle and joining Derby Road all the way to the Pier Head, before setting off again along Wapping and Parliament Street and onto Park Road and Aigburth Road.

Ted with mum and dad, Rachel and Simon
Ted with mum and dad, Rachel and Simon

At Sefton Park he will rejoin Queens Drive and head back to St Andrew’s Church where family and friends, and a team from St Andrew’s Community Network, will be waiting to welcome them back.

“We’re taking with us his big brother’s festival trolley so we’re asking people to donate the usual food bank items – tinned foods, rice, pasta, juice, longlife milk, biscuits, fruit juice and pasta sauces – as we walk,” says Simon. “And if, hopefully, that gets full, his mum (my wife) Rachel and other supporters will be following along and able to take care of what’s there so we can carry on collecting more.”

It might seem unusual for such a young boy to choose to fundraise for a foodbank network but Simon says: “Rachel runs the outlet at All Saint’s Church in Broadgreen Road, Old Swan where we’re originally from, and was taking more responsibility in the run up to Covid.

“Once Covid hit I was furloughed and Rachel, who’s a care worker, was working nights and because you couldn’t mix family groups it was just me and her, and Ted – he was only three or four at the time – turning up on a Thursday morning.

“He’s grown up around it and he’s learned about the different situations of people and what brings them to the food bank.

“And he wants to get involved and do stuff.  The documentary about Rob, and Kevin running the marathon for him, gave him the idea at first … and now he realises that that need isn’t going away, from teenagers who have had to move away from difficult situations to older people who can’t cope on a pension.

Ted Reader
Ted Reader

“I guess it’s the environment we’re all in. My wife is activities co-ordinator in a care home.

“Ted has also got older siblings – George, 25; Ivy, 23, and Carys, 20 – and so I think he is mature for his age.  And George works for the Whitechapel Centre doing outreach work with the homeless.”

Simon goes on: “We are proud of him. He was recently nominated as Young Volunteer of the Year for the Steve Morgan Awards.

“He is football mad but he does have time for other things, and when he goes on food drives he really loves doing it. He doesn’t care who he approaches, he just gets on with it.

“It’s good that what he’s doing is getting recognised and I’m fairly sure we’ll get past £1,000, and we’d love people to walk with us and make donations.

“We just need to get on with the training so we’re ready!”

Ted adds: “Our training is going good because we’re getting quite a few miles done; we’re doing well but we need to start doing more and going a bit further.”

And he’s delighted with this year’s support so far: “It’s really good that that many people are thinking about people who need help.” 

To support Ted Reader click here. You can also follow Ted’s journey on Instagram here.

For the latest news in Liverpool click here.

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