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Norfolk teacher to brave London Marathon for charity chosen by 10-year-old girl who beat leukaemia

PUBLISHED: 08:58 20 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:53 20 April 2018

St William's Primary School teacher, James Roberts, who is running in the London Marathon, with pupil Brogan Didwell, 10, who after recovering from leukaemia, chose the charity Starlight he is raising funds for. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

St William's Primary School teacher, James Roberts, who is running in the London Marathon, with pupil Brogan Didwell, 10, who after recovering from leukaemia, chose the charity Starlight he is raising funds for. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

A teacher gearing up for the London Marathon has been given a heartwarming show of support from his pupils.

St William's Primary School teacher, James Roberts, who is running in the London Marathon, with pupil Brogan Didwell, 10, third right, who after recovering from leukaemia, chose the charity Starlight he is raising funds for. With them are some of the pupils who all ran the school's sponsored run for the same charity. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSt William's Primary School teacher, James Roberts, who is running in the London Marathon, with pupil Brogan Didwell, 10, third right, who after recovering from leukaemia, chose the charity Starlight he is raising funds for. With them are some of the pupils who all ran the school's sponsored run for the same charity. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

James Roberts, who teaches PE and coaches sports teams at St William’s Primary in Thorpe St Andrew, will take on the 26-mile course in London tomorrow.

And the school community has rallied behind him, with youngsters having raised a remarkable £4,000 for his chosen charity.

To help decide which cause he should support, Mr Roberts turned to 10-year-old Brogan Didwell, a year six school pupil who has overcome leukaemia.

She chose Starlight - a charity which supports terminally and profoundly ill children to make their wishes come true.

St William's Primary School teacher, James Roberts, who is running in the London Marathon, with pupil Brogan Didwell, 10, who after recovering from leukaemia, chose the charity Starlight he is raising funds for. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSt William's Primary School teacher, James Roberts, who is running in the London Marathon, with pupil Brogan Didwell, 10, who after recovering from leukaemia, chose the charity Starlight he is raising funds for. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The charity helped Brogan when she was unwell, transforming her into a princess in Euro Disney.

The youngster said: “After months of treatment and hospital stays, Starlight gave me and my family an amazing holiday and much needed time together. It was magical! This money will make other children’s dreams come true.”

As well as raising thousands of pounds, 450 children at the school, aged three to 11, also took part in a mile run on Wednesday, April 18, just before they broke up for the Easter holiday.

They could opt for an elite race, one for medals or a fun run.

Headteacher Sarah Shirras said: “The children and their families have been amazing in raising this huge sum. They all got right behind our fundraising efforts, in the race and in collecting their sponsor money.

“Some donated a few pounds and others over £100!

“They could hear for themselves what an impact Starlight had on Brogan and her recovery.

“James will be followed every step of the way on Sunday both at the race and on television. We are so proud of everything we have done together to raise this colossal sum.”

Hundreds of people from around the region will be running the London Marathon tomorrow - see our paper on Monday to read some of their stories.

• To find out more about the work Starlight does, and to find out how you can get involved, click here.

• Is there something happening at your school that we should be writing about? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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