Big cheers for Leeds’s children who take run in their stride

Lyall Cookward takes part in the mini race. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Lyall Cookward takes part in the mini race. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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THEY might be small in stature but these big-hearted children received some of the loudest cheers of the day.

Hundreds of determined youngsters took to the streets of Leeds to help raise money during a special fun run to support children with special needs and their families.

They raced to the finish line in the free Arena Group Leeds Mini and Junior Run – part of yesteday’s Leeds Half Marathon – to support local charity SNAPS.

Among the children taking part in the run, organised by Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All, was brave Lyall Cookward, who has Down Syndrome.

The four-year-old recently underwent complex surgery which has allowed him to breathe unaided for the first time in four years.

The youngster, who has defied experts as he battled with serious health problems all his life, ran alongside his mum Steph Ward and her partner Sharron Cook, from Chapel Allerton.

Children of all ages took it in their stride for their runs, ranging from 2.5km to 1.5km.

Determined toddler Jenna Swinhoe, who has a rare brain malformation, was also on the run with her proud mum Katy.

She aims to raise thousands of pounds for Leeds support group Little Hiccups.

Medics feared the three-year-old, may never walk.

She suffers up to 60 seizures a day and has had a quarter of her brain removed.

Katy said: “This is one of those times that I never thought we would be able to have - to sit cuddling her after walking more than a kilometre. I have to pinch myself at times.

“I think she found it really tough but the support from the crowds was just so lovely.

“I just feel so proud of everything she does and it is a long lasting memory for us.”


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