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The eight-year-old
running for nature


Words: Cecily Layzell
Photos: Samaya Reid

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Orkney, aged eight, ran 55 kilometres in five days to raise money – a lot more than he expected – for two of his favourite wildlife charities. And he’s just getting started.

You live on St. Mary’s in the Isles of Scilly, a group of islands off the coast of Cornwall in the United Kingdom. Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and why you decided to run around all five inhabited islands?

I’m eight years old. I love wildlife and football and all sports really, and I love being outside. I wanted to do this run not just to raise money for charity, but also because I love to challenge myself. When I was four years old, I walked barefoot around St. Mary’s [the biggest island] to raise money for the Cornwall Air Ambulance. I then said I wanted my next challenge to be a run, but I got two new sisters and we didn’t have time. Then I decided I wanted to raise money for charity again, but I wanted to run around all the islands. Now I’ve completed it and actually it was quite a breeze!

What was the hardest part of the run?

The hardest part was day 4. We ran around St. Agnes and Gugh, and I found Gugh tough. I had already run around a hilly and rocky island, and then I had to run over a lot of sand to get to Gugh, and it was really steep hills. Also, on the last day, which was the longest run, there was a big thunderstorm and really heavy rain. There was thunder and lightning, and I didn’t like it at all. I really thought I couldn’t do it. But the weather got better later in the day, so it was fine.

What was your favourite part?

My favourite part was crossing the finish line on St. Mary’s. At first it felt a bit chaotic because there were so many people, but then it felt really good. When I crossed the line, in my head I was thinking “I’ve done it, I’ve done it”. I thought, I can rest for a few days now. But when I woke up the next day, I was really sad that my run was over. 

You wanted to raise 500 pounds for charity and have now raised more than 4,300 pounds. How does that make you feel?

I’ve raised so much money, I can’t believe it… I feel quite proud that I have raised this much money for two charities that are helping our wildlife.

You’re raising money for the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and the Marine Conservation Society. Why are those charities important to you?

The Wildlife Trust helps our wildlife [on the islands], which is so important especially for the people who live here. We have lots of amazing wildlife and habitats that need protecting. And the Marine Conservation Society helps sea life. I just love marine life, as I love to go swimming and rockpooling. And we need our oceans to be clean and the animals need to be looked after.

If you could choose, what would you like the charities to do with the money you’ve raised?

I would love a new bird hide on the island because I love watching birds with my dad. And maybe a new pond could be made. That would be really cool. And maybe the Marine Conservation Society could use the money to take people out rockpooling so people can see how much amazing wildlife we have, and then they might want to look after our oceans more. 

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You’re a rockpooling star, according to your mum and dad. What’s the best thing you’ve ever found in a rockpool?

My three favourite finds are common lobster, curled octopus and greater pipefish. Common lobsters are my favourite animal and I had never seen one before. Then when we did find one, it was one of the best days of my life.

What would you say to other children who are interested in learning about and caring for nature?

I would say: everyone can do it. If you love nature then you can help it, even if you just pick up a piece of rubbish that you see or you help move an animal that is in the middle of the pavement. Also, putting food out for wildlife in the winter and water for them in the summer. You don’t need to do big things to help, just lots of small things will make a difference.

Are you having a rest now or have you already planned your next challenge? What is it?

My next challenge isn’t really a challenge – I’m going to run a half marathon! And then when I’m 10 or 11, I’m going to be the youngest person to run an ultra-marathon, which is anything over 50 km. I would basically run around all the islands in a day. My friend Hattie said she can take me to all the islands on her boat, so that’s what I’m going to do.

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