THIS year’s Colourthon fun walks are set to be bigger and better than ever before, especially for one remarkable young man.
Jack Horton was critically injured in a near fatal accident in March 2009, when a young driver crashed into a group of teenagers in Thorpe Bay.
The crash killed 15-year-old Eleanor McGrath and left eight teenagers injured, including Jack, who sustained a severe head injury.
He took some of his first steps at last year’s Colourthon and will once again be a keen participant in the fundraiser, organised by the Moonlight Colourthon Charitable Trust on behalf of Southend Round Table.
Jack, now 20, is set to attend Saturday’s event in Chalkwell Park with friends and supporters to complete a remarkable personal challenge.
Colourthon spokesman Matthew Osborne said: “Jack has been using the Colourthon as a tool to measure his progress, with each year him walking a little bit further.
“This year is very different, as he and his supporters have taken our Twilight route and have divided it up. During the year he has completed a bit at a time. So far he has taken 23,000 steps and on Saturday he will complete the final 3,000.”
Mr Osborne revealed walker numbers are up by 25 per cent this year.
He said: “An event of this scale relies on the support of volunteers.
“Anyone with time to spare on Saturday evening who wants to be part of this fun spectacle, please visit the website and register as a steward.
“We will provide a safety briefing, kit, food and transport. Our stewards make the event fun and we need your support.”
It is hoped the eighth Colourthon will hit the £1million milestone.
Mr Osborne added: “A significant part of our increase in walkers has been down to the close work we have undertaken with charities to encourage them to make full use of the event. Notably, we have received some very large team entries.
“Staff from Asda Rayleigh have entered a team of more than 50 walkers to raise money for Southend Hospital breast unit and a colleague who is battling the disease.
“Their support will enable the breast unit to continue to provide the best possible facilities and equipment for the women of south Essex.”
Since the first event in 2007, 670 different charities have benefited from money pledged by walkers in the Colourthon. In total, the Colourthon has raised £875,000.
Anyone walking must first nominate a registered charity to receive their sponsorship money on completion of the event. This is a unique selling point of the Colourthon and sets it apart from many single charity events.
Anyone wishing to walk, who is unsure who to donate to, can visit the official event website, where there is a list of worthy causes.
Registration via the website www.colourthon.org may be completed up until close of play today.
Three events for fundraisers
The Sunlight Colourthon in the afternoon is targeted at the under-16 age group. The event consists of walking multiple laps of a pre-set course situated within Chalkwell Park.
The Moonlight Colourthon is the main event, which is a half marathon fun walk through Southend by night. It is for walkers aged 16 and over, who are encouraged to walk wearing bright and colourful clothing. The walk leaves Chalkwell Park at 8pm.
The Twilight Colourthon is a 10k fun walk through for walkers aged 16 and over, which also leaves Chalkwell Park, at 8pm.
See Monday's Echo for a spread of pictures from the Colourthon event this weekend