'Wonder man' Jarra Jim up for Best of South Tyneside award
A '˜wonder man' who plans to tackle this year's Great North Run at the age of 95 has been nominated for a Best of South Tyneside award.
Legendary runner ‘Jarra Jim’ - Jim Purcell - has been nominated by good friend Agnes Fenwick who believed he was deserving of the award for raising thousands of pounds for charity by regularly taking part in the big event from Newcastle to South Shields.His charity work involves raising funds for his own charity, the JP Handicapped Children’s Trust, which has helped out countless good causes, including Epinay Business and Enterprise School in Jarrow.The Dunkirk veteran, from Falmouth Drive, Jarrow, has taken part in the event for the past 28 years after taking up running after his wife Betty died in 1986.Even having two knee replacement has not stopped the great-grandfather from taking part.Llast year he even took part in the run in a wheelchair after Morrisons worker Gordon Williams offered to push him.In her nomination Agnes said: “He is a wonder man. Jim told me his life story from when his wife died about 30 years ago. “He went to watch the Great North Run to pass the time away and he thought ‘I’m sure I could do that.’“So he used to slip out of the house in the dark and run around the block until he felt sure he could train properly for the Great North Run. “Jim is a real inspiration to the Great North Run and is a great favourite among the competitors and spectators.“Jim is an exception and a real celebrity.”Jim, who turns 95 later this year, said he plans to take part in the run again on September 11 and has already got his number.He said: “It is nice to have been nominated.“I would be very happy to win and add to my collection of awards. I know I am well thought of in the town.“I hope I am in good health by the time the awards come round but I am happy and I love talking to people.“I have lived a long time and I am writing a book - a series of stories I am going to call ‘A Long Time Ago.’”