South Shields schoolgirl crowned fundraiser of the year following her dad's death on Christmas Day
A South Shields schoolgirl, who lost her dad on Christmas Day, has been crowned a national charity’s Fundraiser of the Year.
Eli-Jo House, 13, took on the Junior Great North Run last year for Crohn’s & Colitis UK, after the devastating loss of her father, who battled with Crohn’s disease for several years leading up to his death.
Matt Fryer died aged 38 in 2017, from sepsis, while receiving treatment for the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) at St Mark’s Hospital in London.
Eli-Jo, who attends Harton Academy in South Shields ran the 4K event in Matt’s name, alongside her cousins, Molly Edgar, 11, and Maya Evans, 12, and raised over £800 for the charity.
She was put forward for the Alex Demain Fundraiser of the Year Award – which recognises the achievements of young people who have gone above and beyond – by members of her family and took home the title at an awards ceremony in London on Saturday, June 14.
“I’m so proud, she’s doing so good, out of such heartache,” said Eli-Jo’s mum, Jennifer House.
“It was a massive boost she needed, she just wants to raise funds so nobody else loses a parent.”
“She’s done the run for years for a prostate cancer charity, after her grandfather battled it, but when Matt died it was a no brainer,” Jennifer continued.
“It’s still very raw. Christmas will never be the same, and it was Matt’s birthday on Monday, he would have been 40 years old, but her friends and teachers have been amazing.”
The award was presented to Eli-Jo by Made in Chelsea star Louise Thompson and singer Tom Speight, who have both spoken publicly about their own battles with IBD.
Charlie Keep, Director of Income Generation at Crohn’s & Colitis UK said: “We are incredibly proud of all the nominees and we look forward to seeing the amazing achievements of more young people throughout the next year.”
Eli-Jo added: “I hope I have done my dad, Alex’s family and all Crohn’s sufferers proud. It’s an awful disease and needs a lot more awareness & I will continue to raise as much as possible.”