Leeds charity is smiles better after fundraising run

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Youngsters have been hailed as fundraising heroes after going on the run in aid of a Leeds charity.

A total of £10,000 was raised for Sunshine and Smiles by hundreds of children taking part in the Arena Group Leeds Mini and Junior Run earlier this month, it has been announced.

Sunshine and Smiles works with kids with Down syndrome and it entered a team in the event which included some of the youngsters it supports.

The charity’s Ailith Harley-Roberts said: “We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who has supported our runners.

“We need to say thank you to everyone who has been involved in so many different ways – volunteering, running, cheering, waving banners, supporting, raising sponsorship, donating.

“We really hope that many people will have seen our T-shirts and banners, seen all our wonderful Sunshine and Smiles team thoroughly enjoying being part of these great events, and that a little more awareness will have been raised and that some perspectives will have shifted about what Down syndrome is and why it doesn’t have to define anyone.”

Held at Leeds Dock, the Arena Group Leeds Mini and Junior Run offered a 1.5km race for youngsters aged three to eight and a 2.5km event for nine to 14-year-olds.

The children’s race was part of this year’s Asda Foundation Leeds 10K weekend and, like its bigger brother, was organised by Run For All, which works to continue the legacy of the late Leeds cancer heroine Jane Tomlinson.

Run For All’s Anna Baker said: “It’s great that the event was not only enjoyed by hundreds of youngsters, but that it has made a real difference to such a great cause. Well done Sunshine and Smiles!”

Jane, from Rothwell, raised £1.8m with a series of endurance challenges before her death from cancer aged 43 in 2007.

Events such as the Leeds 10K continue to be held in the mum-of-three’s memory and earlier this year it was announced that the amount raised by the Jane Tomlinson Appeal and its partner charities had reached £7.5m.

Fundraisers gather at Leeds Minster in 2015 to raise money for Simon on the Streets. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe

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