A KEEN runner from Trowbridge will take on an ultra-marathon challenge to raise funds for the NSPCC and an up-and-coming Under 11s football team in North Bradley.

Jo Farion, of Newtown, has signed up for the 50-mile Race to the Farm challenge in Somerset to help out good friend and football coach Ben Howe, who is looking to secure the long-term future of the youth team he set up, which is based at the Peace Memorial Hall & Recreation Ground.

Although Mr Howe has bought some goals, kits and secured sponsorship, the long term future of the club is not secure, so Mrs Farion, who has two sons playing for his team, wants to lend a hand so that children aged six to 16 can enjoy football in the village.

“I think what Ben is doing is inspirational. To take on a big challenge like this, without any funding, all by himself, is amazing. This will give children lifelong memories,” said the 39-year-old.

“My sons Sonny, 10, and Zak, nine, were not getting any game time at their old club and when we heard about this, we leapt at the opportunity. Training has been going for a few weeks now and they just love it.

“I wanted to help out and as I have done an ultra-marathon before, back in March in Imber, I thought the event in September was a good way to be of assistance. I am a keen runner so it will be a bit more bearable for me but it will still be very tough.

“Despite that I am really looking forward to it and hopefully I can raise a good amount for the team and the NSPCC.”

Mr Howe was brought up in North Bradley and after spending many years away, he and his 10-year-old son Archie returned, with the intention of setting up a youth football team.

“I have had this dream for a while of coming back here, where I played football for the adult team and getting this off the ground,” said the 37-year-old, of Churchlands.

“I thought the recreation ground was the ideal spot but the grass was like a jungle. I approached the committee about using the place for football and they agreed, as long as I cut the grass, which I happily did for free.

“After months of sending round leaflets, posting things on social media and through word of mouth, we have 15 people who come to the ground on Wednesday evenings, all eager to play. This is the start of something exciting.

“What Jo is doing is so thoughtful. It has taken a lot of effort to get to where we are and if we can get help that would be great.”

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