Dad’s 100km to buy iPads for school

By Annie Stewart

A PORTAVOGIE parent has ran 100km and raised over £2,000 for school funds.

Jonathan Pankhurst ran from Portavogie to Portrush on Friday to raise funds for new iPads for Portavogie Primary School.

The school organised a surprise send off for Johnny with the children cheering him on with music, a banner and helping his son George to run with him for the first leg of his journey.

Jonathan said he was surprised at the send off which gave him a ‘great buzz’ that fuelled his run.

“I was so shocked at what the school did for me plus, emotionally, it was a great buzz I was not expecting,” he said.

“A special shout must go out to Mr Baillie and Mrs Murray for organising that as it fuelled me most of the way. 

“I would like to say thank you to all who have donated and supported me along the hard path. It really means the world to me to have hit the target and help this school give the kids the opportunity to grow.”

As an avid runner, Jonathan decided to do this challenge and came up with ‘iplod for iPads’.

“I run most days and usually push myself to try and get a good time or a bigger distance,” he said.

“I heard of the school cuts and was disgusted at what happened, so I thought I’d ask the school what they’re going to need most of all or what is affected most.

“It was their IT equipment, so I came up with iplod for iPads.”

Jonathan would also like to thank his family, his friends and the wellbeing company What About Ye for their support.

“I would also like to thank Aaron Watterson who ran alongside me for 25 km from Ards to Belfast. That was a big help as I’d only ever run 42k before.

“And a final shoutout to What About Ye (wellbeing company) which provided me with the fuel and tools to achieve this milestone.”

Principal Victoria Murray said the school’s iPads were 10 years old and in need of updating.

“We all know the importance of digital skills,” she said. “iPads are used in all the classrooms from P1 to P7 and they are used all throughout the day through all areas of the curriculum,” she said.

“The iPads that we have are over 10 years old and we really just need them updated. Our PTA have been doing a lot of fundraising this year and their money will go towards the iPads and then this will help us get to a class target so we can get a full set.

“iPads aren’t something that would be covered by our budget,” she added. “With all the issues with the budget we just don’t have the money to replace things like that.

Mrs Murray said the school is ‘really grateful and really appreciates’ Johnny’s efforts.

“It’s absolutely amazing, it’s such a big thing to offer to do, and it’s such a big distance to do as well,” said Mrs Murray.

“He’s very passionate about the school and his own children, about how important it is for mental health to be running and just the importance of being out and about and being active.

“It’s going to make such a difference to the children and to the teachers as well. It’s such a fabulous resource.”

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