AN ANDOVER headteacher will be pounding the pavements of the capital in memory of a ‘very special’ pupil.

Nathan Thomas, headteacher of Winton Community Academy, will take part in the London Marathon later this month to continue to raise funds for charity Children with Cancer UK.

First-time marathon runner Nathan was inspired to do the challenge after one of the academy’s students, Ryan Hoar, died aged 12 on November 6, 2018, after he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2017.

Nathan said: “Ryan was a very special young man who just wanted to come to school.”

He added: “I’ve set myself a fundraising target of £3,000, which will go to Children with Cancer UK and the vital research they fund to discover new and better treatments for childhood cancers.”

With the marathon just over three weeks away, Nathan is confident he will be able to have success on the day.

“Training is going well and I am up to 20 miles a week now and I’ve managed pretty well to stick to my regime. I know running a marathon will be a really tough test both physically and mentally, but compared to what children undergoing cancer treatment endure, it just can’t compare.”

Staff and students at the academy are already supporting the cause and recently held a charity festival to add extra funds to the pot.

Guests were treated to an evening of student dance and music before Nathan’s band The Mike Parker Experience took to the stage to play tunes from the past 30 years.

The class of 1978 has also paid for a new bench for the academy in the colours of Ryan’s favourite football team, Liverpool. Also on the evening, the academy unveiled a wall plaque made by LEGO USA as a tribute to Ryan’s passion for building bricks.

“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has already sponsored me,” Nathan added.

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