Oliver Thirlaway, 9, from Wallsend, has set himself a baa-rilliant summer fundraising challenge – to find all 115 Shaun on the Tyne sculptures across Newcastle before the end of his school summer holidays.

The young adventurer signed up to become a Shaun on the Tyne Trail Champion after he and mum Linzy, heard about the initiative on the trail social media pages. Oliver’s family are long-time supporters of the charity, having been touched by hospice care several times throughout Oliver’s lifetime.

Mum Linzy said:

“Oliver’s Grandma Joan died in 2014 and spent her last days at the hospice when Oliver was only 4 weeks old. Then, in 2018, my best friend and Oliver’s Auntie Jenny spent several weeks receiving care at the hospice. It became like a second home to us, Oliver and sister Robyn, now 12, spent quite a bit of time at the hospice visiting Jenny, and after she died, we all accessed the bereavement support offered by Brenda and Beth in the Family Support Service there. It really made a difference at a difficult time. Sadly, another close friend, Jude, died a few years later and St Oswald’s were there once again, to support her loved ones through.”

Linzy and her family and friends are no strangers to fundraising!

Prior to the pandemic, they formed a group called Be Brave for Jenny’ and organised lots of fundraising challenges and events to show support to the hospice. As the world changed, fundraising opportunities become limited, but the group’s desire to support the hospice didn’t go away. When Linzy and Olive spotted the call out for Trail Champions, they were quick to sign up!

Linzy continues:

“During Jenny’s time at the hospice, it became our second home and the children have both happy and sad memories of the time spent there. Oliver knows how important the hospice is to our family and when we heard about the trail, we decided to use it as a way to raise money and kick start our fundraising again.

“Oliver has asked friends and family to sponsorship to fund all of the Shauns and so far, he’s been out on the trail with me, his dad, grandma, auntie and uncle. We are planning to do it in sections and already have spotted quite a few Shauns. Its free, fun and a great way to discover new places in the city. For example, Oliver had no idea there was an actual castle in Newcastle until he spotted it during our Shaun search! It’s like being a Toon Tourist, we love it!”

“I wanted to do the trail to raise money for the hospice because they help a lot of people like my Aunty Jenny who are very poorly. Everyone there is kind and caring and they need money to keep doing a great job.”

– Oliver

Oliver’s fundraising has got off to a fab-ewe-lous start, thanks to generous family, friends and business clients of Linzy’s who have seen their story shared on social media. We hope Oliver manages to complete his challenge summer and are so grateful to him and those sponsoring him to become a trail Champion, You can visit his JustGiving page to make a donation here.

If Oliver has inspired you to become a Trail Champion yourself, you can find out more here. All Champions will receive a certificate and medal and those raising over £100 will receive a family ticket to our Farewell Weekend Event in October!

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