Thursday, 12 April 2012

Jane Tomlinson Fundraisers get behind the Leeds Education Challenge

Fundraisers Mike Tomlinson and PC Bob Bowman are hoping the endurance marathon they are about to embark on in support of children’s charities across Leeds can inspire the city’s young people to overcome the difficulties they face in their lives and realise their potential.

PC Bowman will join Mike and Rebecca Tomlinson and a host of others on a huge physical challenge to mark the 10th Anniversary of when Jane Tomlinson first ran the London Marathon in 2002.

The challenge starts on 15th April when the group travel to France to run the Paris marathon. Six days of constant cycling will follow, with the group heading back to Yorkshire for a tour of the region before riding down to the capital to complete the London Marathon on 22nd April.

PC Bowman, a trustee of the Leeds Rugby Foundation, has been working with Leeds City Council's children's services to support the Leeds Education Challenge, which as part of the work to make Leeds a Child Friendly City, aims to bring schools and other services together to address the learning challenges facing they city’s children and young people. One of the most significant challenges is tackling the number of young people who regularly fail to attend school and PC Bowman is hoping that his efforts can particularly inspire this group. He said:

“We have to address the issue of the high number of young people who regularly miss school, because we know the negative affect this can have on their attainment and other aspects of their lives.

"Failure to attend school often reflects a range of other problems young people are facing and can be a symptom of a host of difficulties they have to overcome.

"It would be great if we could use this challenge, in memory of Jane Tomlinson, to show young people that whatever difficulties they face, if they put their mind to it they can stay on track and achieve their goals”.

Executive member for children’s services Councillor Judith Blake said:
“To make Leeds feel like the best city to grow up in, we need our most inspirational people to get involved in showing children and young people what can be achieved through dedication and determination.

"There can be no better example of this than the endurance marathon that the Jane Tomlinson Appeal has organised, so we’re really pleased that Bob and Mike are keen to work with our schools.

"Improving attendance is a particularly high priority for Leeds and it’s vital that we all work together to get the message across that whatever it takes, being consistently in school makes a real difference to young people’s life chances”.

After the challenge is complete PC Bowman and Mike Tomlinson will be involved in work starting with Leeds secondary schools to highlight to pupils how important it is to stay in school and the difference it can make if young people keep focused on what they want to achieve. Director of children’s services Nigel Richardson and executive member for children’s services Councillor Judith Blake are writing initially to all Leeds secondary schools inviting them to work with PC Bowman and Mike in the run up to the summer exams to give young people extra inspiration and motivation.

PC Bowman will also be running in a t-shirt showing support for the ambition to make Leeds a Child Friendly City.

PC Bowman will be splitting all the sponsorship he receives for the run between the Jane Tomlinson appeal and Leeds Rugby Foundation, which aims to provide sports, health and educational opportunities to the young people of Leeds and Yorkshire, and to use the 'power of sport' to inspire, motivate and educate individuals within it.

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For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713