Final total a Ray of sunshine for Newman School

Published Friday, 13th January 2017
Ray, Deputy Mayor and Newman school children
Ray Matthews with Deputy Mayor, Cllr Eve Rose Keenan, Consort Pat Keenan and pupils from Newman School

Marathon man Ray Matthews has handed over nearly £30,000 to a Rotherham special school after a six month long fundraising campaign.

The go-getting grandfather from Maltby has received national and international acclaim for running 75 marathons in 75 days – which he started on his 75th birthday last year.

He took up the challenge in a bid to raise money for equipment for Newman Special School in Whiston, which educates children with varying degrees of special educational needs and disabilities.

Ray is still aiming to keep on fundraising for the school until he reaches his £75,000 target which he has ambitiously set himself.

He said: "Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me on this incredible journey. I have been blown away by everyone's generosity and I am very excited to be able to now give the school this money which I hope will help spread some happiness and joy for the students. I am determined to keep on fund raising, so watch this space for my next adventures!"

Headteacher Julie Mott added: "We can't thank Ray enough for all that he has done for us. This money will go a vast way to getting specialist equipment for the school. We certainly couldn't have afforded this without him and he has most certainly put a smile on all our children's faces! And the fact he wants to keep on fund raising for us is just amazing. He deserves all the acclaim he is getting – he really is one in a million!"

Since beginning his marathon challenge in July, Ray has gained widespread press coverage for his challenge from Europe to Australia,and has been congratulated for his efforts on social media by celebrities such as heavyweight boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard and McFly drummer, and Strictly Come Dancing star, Harry Judd.

As well as this, Ray received a British Citizen Award for services to the community in the New Year's Honours list and a newspaper campaign for him to receive a knighthood currently has dozens of letters of support and continues to grow.

And he will be in Leeds in April for the Yorkshire Choices Awards, where he has been nominated for 'Fundraiser of the Year' and 'Sporting Achievement of the Year'.

Deputy Mayor of Rotherham, Cllr Eve Rose Keenan, said: "Ray is an incredible man. To raise all this money for the school and still want to do more is testament to his passion and belief for what the school does for our young people. His humility and generosity is compared only to the enormity of the challenge he completed – we're all extremely proud of his achievements."