Devoted nursery founder to take on Great North Run for battling South Tyneside children
The founder of a South Tyneside nursery is taking part in the Great North Run on Sunday, September 9, to raise money for children under his care with life-limiting conditions.
Eamonn Gribben, 59, is director of the Early Learning Partnership, which runs nurseries throughout South Tyneside. For his third half marathon, he has chosen four special children to raise funds for, all of whom attend a different nursery in the borough.
Three-year-old Summer Clarke who lives in Harton and attends Harton Village Kindergarten, was born with an extra chromosome, meaning she needs more support at nursery with her physical development.
Harry Mason, from Cleadon Park, suffers from unicoronal craniosynostosis, a condition causing a problem with brain and skull growth. Now he goes to West Park kindergarten in South Shields.
At just five days old Harriet Corr, from Jarrow, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, now four, she attends Bede Burn Kindergarten.
Two-year-old Sophie Smith, from Westoe attends Westoe Village Kindergarten, and struggles with social communication.
Eamonn is hoping to raise £4,000 - £1,000 each - for the children and their families, in the hopes of making a positive impact on their lives and providing them with support for their future.
“In my 20 years at the nurseries, I’ve seen a lot of suffering and I just wanted to do something positive,” said Eamonn, who lives in The Nook, South Shields.
“As a nursery we’re trying to do as much as we can and I wanted to physically do something to raise money and awareness, supporting children who all have unique disabilities and needs.”
He added: “We know the parents, so we understand the needs of the child, so I wanted to give the money directly to the parents and the children.”
Eamonn will be joined on the day by Lee Sinclair, dad to four-year-old Carter, who suffers from spina bifida and previously attended Harton Village Kindergarten. Last year Eamonn raised more than £1,000 for the youngster.
“As I ran it for Carter last year I wanted other children to get a chance,” he explained.
“The families have been overwhelmed that we would want to raise money for them.”