A SCHOOLBOY has raised hundreds of pounds in memory of a marathon runner – and helped smash a £10,000 fundraising target in the process.

Elijah Chaplin, 13, a St Thomas More School pupil, raised £450 by running 250 laps around his school sports hall.

He did it in memory of Nick Palmer, who died after finishing the Southend Half Marathon.

The money he raised has been added to a fundraising pot for Great Ormond Street Hospital, which was set up in memory of Nick, 37, of Shoebury Road, Great Wakering, after his death on June 8.

Great Ormond Street was chosen, as it had cared for Nick’s son George, aged six.

Elijah wanted to join the fundraising campaign after meeting Nick when he joined Flyers Southend running club.

He said: “I knew him fairly well. When I did my first run with my running group, I was paired up with Nick.

“I decided to do it because I usually do a charity run every year and wanted to do something for Nick.” Elijah’s £450 donation pushed Nick’s fundraising total past the £10,000 mark.

Keith Passingham, who organises the club, said: “It’s great to reach that milestone. When we heard what Elijah was doing, everyone at the club had admiration for him.”

“As a club we want to set up a long-term project to help Nick’s son George in the future. We haven’t decided what, but will be consulting with his family.”

One of Nick’s best friends, Ashley Moore, 38, who lives in Colchester but is formerly of High Street, Great Wakering, said: “It’s fantastic that Elijah’s donation is the clincher to take the target over £10,000.

“Nick’s family, especially his mum, have been on the justgiving page all the time looking at the comments from people. It was nice to give them a bit of light at a really dark time.”

Donate to Elijah’s challenge, by emailing elijah2000@hot mail.co.uk or at www.justgiving .com/NickPalmerMemorialFund