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Cash boost for Jarra Jim tribute runners

Dianne Mountain of Epinay Business and Enterprise School and Shaun Simmons of  TT2 Limited with the Jarra Jim team.
Dianne Mountain of Epinay Business and Enterprise School and Shaun Simmons of TT2 Limited with the Jarra Jim team.

Staff at a South Tyneside school are gearing up to do the Great North Run in honour of local legend Jarra Jim.

TT2 Limited, the operator of the Tyne Tunnels, is supporting Epinay Business and Enterprise School staff in their attempt with a £500 donation to the school.

Jim 'Jarra Jim' Purcell

Jim 'Jarra Jim' Purcell

The donation from the Tyne Tunnels Community Fund, which was set up by the in 2016 to mark the fifth anniversary of the second road tunnel, will be used for new equipment.

Epinay Business and Enterprise School, in Clervaux Terrace, Jarrow, provides education for children with a variety of complex and special needs, including learning difficulties, and emotional, social and behavioural difficulties.

It has entered 20 runners into the half marathon event, which takes place on Sunday 9 September.

Second World War veteran ‘Jarra’ Jim Purcell began distance running at age 65, and regularly raised money for Epinay School.

He also donated his time to attend sports days, give talks, and was selected to carry the Olympic flame through Wallsend in 2012, ahead of the London games. He passed away in February, aged 96.

Dianne Mountain, business development manager from Epinay School, said: “I would like to thank TT2 for its kind donation.

“It will help us towards our goal of creating an outdoor classroom and an invention shed for the pupils to aid their learning.

“I was saddened to hear that Jim had passed away. He had been a friend of the school for many years and would come into the school regularly to talk about the war, or to hand out medals at sports days.

“As a tribute to Jim, Epinay School has 20 runners taking part in this year’s Great North Run, and all the runners will be wearing specially designed Jarra Jim T-shirts. I know he will be cheering us on.

“Jim has left a legacy behind him, a gentleman, a generous man and our local hero. Rest in Peace Jarra Jim. Keep smiling.”

Shaun Simmons, business support officer at TT2 Limited, said: “Everyone at TT2 has nothing but admiration for Jarra Jim, and all the fantastic work he did within the region.

“We are delighted to be able to help honour his memory by supporting such a good cause.

“Epinay Business and Enterprise School provides essential educational support to young people in the area, and we know that they will benefit greatly from the new equipment and facilities they are getting.”