A local youngster has completed a fundraising marathon in Uganda.
Ellon Academy S3 pupil Bobby Boardman was set to take part in the 10k challenge for the Uganda Marathon Foundation, but while in Uganda he decided to enter the half marathon instead.
Bobby and his parents Carron and Bruce flew to Uganda on Saturday, May 18 but took part in the fundraising marathon event on Saturday, June 1.
Before the race, the family spent a week volunteering with the projects they were supporting.
Bobby’s mum Carron said: “We believe education is the biggest foundation for any person, this is why we chose to support a school.
“These children want an education. The fact they undertake such arduous journeys just to attend school shows a strength and determination to succeed.
“Whilst in Uganda we visited other projects where children many of whom are orphans mainly due to HIV are cared for by caring individuals trying to help.
“Unfortunately they don’t have enough income to ensure all the children get to school.
“They are housed in dormitories and are being taught to grow food and make crafts in order to help sustain themselves.
“Housing so many children creates difficulties with everyday hygiene and cleanliness, especially since the majority of these projects don’t have access to running water.
“Seeing this inspired Bobby to want to do more.
“He decided to increase his race distance from 10k to a half marathon to show a commitment to his own project and also to raise more awareness and more funding in order to help more of the projects.
“His intention is to continue fundraising and holding events in order to highlight the need and also ways we can help. Funding and education are key we believe to helping these communities help themselves.
“Bobby feels what he did pales into insignificance in comparison to what the caregivers are doing.
“We were overwhelmed while we were in Uganda at how happy and friendly everyone was, some of the poorest people in the world seem to be the richest in spirit.
“They have so many wonderful qualities in themselves as people and the environment they live in. They live extremely hard working lives in order to sustain themselves.
“The things we each take for granted is almost an impossible dream from them.”
Carron added: “Bobby achieved what he set out to do and more - he hit his fundraising target, started the Uganda Marathon with the crown prince David Wasajja, helped with some upcycling. and helped in creating a colourful playground.
“He started some amazing new friendships, tried some new foods, learnt some new skills, and he realised even more how lucky we are.
“He met some of the most amazing caring and inspirational people in the world, and above all he learnt that we are all responsible, for the world, ourselves and each other.
“Bobby feels he has been so fortunate to have had this amazing opportunity and he would like to thank Ellon Academy for allowing him to do this as an alternative to work experince.
“He would like to thank the running community of Ellon for helping him with his request for running shoes.
“Also a massive thank you to all the local businesses that sponsored or donated to our fundraising race night which was a huge success and raised almost £1,000 towards the fundraising total.
“A huge thank you to every individual that donated on the fundraising page, and most importantly thank you to Uganda for being the most amazing welcoming place.”
A spokesperson for the Uganda Foundation said: “The Uganda Marathon was created with a vision to uplift communities across Uganda. As a non- profit event, our main aim is to support as many worthy causes in the country as possible.
“We saw 5,000 runners from Uganda and across the world cross the start line – and raise £170,000 for charity in the process.
“Runners walk, jog and run shoulder-to-shoulder, all to make a difference to those that need it most.”
“But even more than that, it’s a culmination of a remarkable week, where visitors learn the hopes and challenges of people in Uganda, and help contribute to the solutions.
“The race is just the icing on the cake – it’s the week of community development that makes the difference.”