Video: Leeds’s own Harry Potter star bids to conjure up funds for rugby foundation

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His role in the Harry Potter films made him instantly recognisable to millions of fans around the world.

This Sunday, however, Leeds-born actor Matthew Lewis will be just another face in a field of 55,000 people taking part in the Bupa Great North Run.

Actor Matthew Lewis (right) and Barrie McDermott who are running the Great North Run in aid of the Leeds Rugby Foundation. PIC: Mark Bickerdike

Actor Matthew Lewis (right) and Barrie McDermott who are running the Great North Run in aid of the Leeds Rugby Foundation. PIC: Mark Bickerdike

Matthew, from Horsforth, is tackling the 13.1-mile race in the North East in aid of the Leeds Rugby Foundation charity.

And yesterday the 24-year-old lifted the lid on his preparations for the event after a workout at the Kirkstall training ground of Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Carnegie.

“I started training back in April, but started to step it up in the last two to three months,” said Matthew.

“It was tough to start with, having never done any long distance running at all.

“Breaking through that first barrier was hard work, but it is amazing how quickly your body gets used to it and we are up to running 10 and 11 miles now.

“I have been getting back from London at eight at night after filming and I am in a frame of mind where I do not want to miss a session, so I stick to it.”

Leeds Rugby Foundation vice president Matthew will be running on Sunday alongside the charity’s deputy chairman, Bob Bowman.

They will be joined by former Rhinos star Barrie McDermott, now the club’s head of youth performance.

Matthew and co’s efforts in aid of the foundation have been hailed by its chief executive, Lucy Owen. She said: “Matt does so much to support the organisation, but this really is going above and beyond the call of duty.

“All the money Matt raises will help us change even more lives through sport and we simply can’t thank him enough.

“Matt is a fantastic role model. He has achieved amazing things in his career but has never forgotten where he grew up and does whatever he can to help individuals from Leeds who need an extra helping hand. Leeds should be very proud of him.”

To sponsor Matthew and the rest of the foundation team, visit the web page.

Supporters can also text MATT24 and either £3, £5 or £10 to 70070.

Matthew played young wizard Harry Potter’s pal Neville Longbottom in eight films.

A former pupil at St Mary’s Catholic School in Menston, his CV also includes appearances in programmes such as Dalziel and Pascoe and The Syndicate.

He was awarded an honorary degree last year by Leeds Metropolitan University and has been named as a county ‘ambassador’ by tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire.

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