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Bully-beating teen to run for crisis-hit zoo

PUBLISHED: 12:38 17 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:38 17 June 2020

Travis Sturman (right) with his family inThetford. Travis will be running 10k to raise money for Banham Zoo. Photo: Claire Sturman

Travis Sturman (right) with his family inThetford. Travis will be running 10k to raise money for Banham Zoo. Photo: Claire Sturman

Claire Sturman

A teen who used his passion for running to overcome bullying, is set to take part in a 10km run to raise money for a Norfolk zoo which is struggling for survival.

Travis Sturman, 15, will be running 10k to raise money for Banham Zoo. Photo: Claire SturmanTravis Sturman, 15, will be running 10k to raise money for Banham Zoo. Photo: Claire Sturman

Travis Sturman, from Thetford, suffered years of bullying and cyber bullying which resulted in police involvement and had a devastating impact on his young life.

But now the 15-year-old, who goes to Thetford Academy, is using his experience to become a voice for youth across the county.

His mother Claire Sturman said she was “immensely proud” of her son for showing his strength and passion to help others.

Ms Sturman said: “For anyone to go through bullying is horrific but to come out of it the other side as a rounded and understanding person and support those who are being bullied is truly amazing, and will stand him well for the future.

Travis Sturman, 15, will be running 10k to raise money for Banham Zoo. Photo: Claire SturmanTravis Sturman, 15, will be running 10k to raise money for Banham Zoo. Photo: Claire Sturman

“It was horrific going through that, it’s heart breaking when it’s your child.”

Travis is now part of the Breckland Youth Advisory Board and has travelled to Dublin to attend the world anti-bullying seminar, as well as being involved in projects to support the district’s youth.

Alongside his love for running, Travis, who is also a youth leader at a Cub Scout group, said helping others had helped his mental health improve.

“It helped me get through it and now my anxiety and mental health has got a lot better. I’m feeling good and proud of myself, especially now I’m back running and being active.”

Travis Sturman, 15, will be running 10k to raise money for Banham Zoo. Photo: Claire SturmanTravis Sturman, 15, will be running 10k to raise money for Banham Zoo. Photo: Claire Sturman

After breaking his ankle last year, Travis was forced to take break from running but now he has set himself a target to run 10km to raise money for Banham Zoo, which has lost much of its income because of coronavirus.

Ms Sturman said: “Now he is trying to get his physical fitness back up and he wants to run 10km by June 21 and raise money for Banham Zoo, because he enjoyed going there as a child.”

Travis will start his run on Sunday, June 21, in Thetford.

To donate, visit his gofundme page here.

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