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Thomas tackles a triathlon challenge

Fund-raiser nine-year-old Thomas Greenwood with a photograph of St George's teacher Michelle Yates visiting Nanyuki Preparatory School in Kenya
Fund-raiser nine-year-old Thomas Greenwood with a photograph of St George's teacher Michelle Yates visiting Nanyuki Preparatory School in Kenya
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A sporty youngster is taking on a triple challenge to raise money for a school in Africa.

Nine-year-old Thomas Greenwood wanted to support a fund-raising appeal at St George’s Primary School in Chorley in aid of Nanyuki Preparatory School in Kenya.

Teacher Michelle Yates visited the school in 2013 and teachers and pupils at St George’s are now aiming to raise £6,000 for a classroom as part of a new school building.

And Thomas, of Redwood Drive, Chorley, decided to take on his own fund-raising challenge.

His dad Tony said: “Thomas came home a few weeks ago and had really taken this into his heart. He could see the school in Kenya was very basic and he wanted to help.”

Year four pupil Thomas suggested doing a sponsored bounce on his trampoline but his dad suggested doing a triathlon instead.

“It was quite staggering to listen to him when he came home and started talking so passionately about wanting to help these children and this classroom in Kenya who he had never met before or seen before, people that he ultimately understands are 100 per cent less fortunate than himself. He’s rather kind and considerate like that.”

Tony Greenwood

And Thomas is now busy training for the challenge, which will see him do a 600m swim, six-mile bike ride and 6km run on Saturday, April 30.

The distances have been chosen to include the number six, as the school needs to raise £6,000.

Thomas’ personal target is £600 and he has already collected more than £460.

Tony said: “It was quite staggering to listen to him when he came home and started talking so passionately about wanting to help these children and this classroom in Kenya who he had never met before or seen before, people that he ultimately understands are 100 per cent less fortunate than himself.

“He’s rather kind and considerate like that.”

Thomas was already active, regularly swimming and playing football.

He has also represented his school in gymnastics and cross country running.

He is now training four times each week as he prepares for the challenge and even has a training calendar in his bedroom.

Thomas is working on his endurance and increasing the distance of his activities, recently cycling 6.5km and running 4km.

Dad Tony is using his experience as a keen runner to help him, as well as getting advice from his friends who compete in triathlons.

Tony, 37, said: “We have got to get him in good physical nick so he can achieve it.

“To have raised more than £400 so far with a month to go, we are really humbled. It’s a bit mind-blowing.”

Thomas is not taking part in an organised triathlon, but will do the three disciplines in one day.

The swim is likely to be at All Seasons Leisure Centre in Chorley, with a route being planned for the bike ride.

And Thomas will finish his challenge by running to St George’s, where his friends and family will be waiting to celebrate his success.

Videos following Thomas’ progress are being shared on YouTube for his supporters and it is hoped they will be seen by the children in Kenya.

Year four teacher Michelle said: “I thought it was a beautiful way to get him involved in charity fund-raising at such a young age. It’s really inspirational that he is doing it off his own back.

“His classmates have been watching his videos and he’s giving us running total of how much has been raised.”

A host of fund-raising activities are planned to help St George’s reach their target.

An Africa-inspired enterprise week started yesterday at the school and several members of staff will be running the Greater Manchester Marathon on Sunday.

To sponsor Thomas, go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TonyGreenwood.