A SPECIAL fundraising event has been held at a Torfaen school, in support of one of its teachers who is running the London Marathon for her son, an arthritis sufferer.

Blaenavon Heritage VC Primary School held a ‘26-mile challenge fun day’ on Monday, to raise funds for Arthritis Research UK.

Leanne Jones is competing in the world famous 26-mile race for the cause after her son, William, who is now seven years old, was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis when he was just five.

She said the fundraiser had been a huge “success”.

“We had a fantastic day and raised nearly £800,” said the year two teacher and school health, fitness and well-being coordinator, who lives in Pontypool.

“We started off with a whole school sing-a-thon where we sang for 26 minutes. Then every year group took part in their own challenge 26, as well as every member of staff. At the end of the day the whole school of over 500 pupils gathered together to draw the raffle prizes. All staff wore challenge 26 t-shirts or arthritis t-shirts and all the children wore orange.”

Pupil challenges included 26 nursery rhymes for the school’s youngest members, and 26 minutes of dance for those in reception and year 4.

Mrs Jones’ colleagues took part in a variety of activities from making 26 cakes, to wearing 26 different shades of lipstick, and 26 goes down the slide.

She added: “I really want people to be more aware that children can get arthritis, that it’s not just older people.”

Arthritis, which causes debilitating pain and fatigue, affects around 15,000 children in the UK.

To sponsor Mrs Jones see http://uk.virginmoney giving.com/LeanneJones5