A JUNIOR rugby player has taken on a lockdown challenge raising money to help find a cure for brain tumours – the disease which is affecting his father.

William Priddy, who plays for Chobham Rugby Club under-13s, has collected £5,850 by running a mile a day since the beginning of January.

William, 12, has braved snow and ice to keep up his daily jog and intends to keep going until the end of March. He has already beaten his target by more than £400.

He was spurred to raise money for the Brain Tumour Research charity after his dad, 44-year-old Greg, received a shock diagnosis that he had a cancerous tumour on Christmas Eve.

Like his mother, Jo, and sister Amelia, Will was devasted by the news. He came up with the challenge idea after a teacher encouraged him to “do something positive”.

Greg, a business account manager with Edgewell Personal Care, learnt he had a brain tumour after an MRI scan on 28 November. Because of COVID-19, Jo was unable to accompany him into St Peter’s Hospital and he phoned her with the news.

The cancer diagnosis followed an investigation at St George’s Hospital in Tooting.

“When Greg was diagnosed, it obviously had a profound effect on both of our children,” said Jo. “William has always looked up to Mr Gallagher, his pastoral lead at The Magna Carta School in Staines.

“It was Mr Gallagher who had helped William through a difficult period during the first lockdown when William had his own health issues. We are really thankful that he has been able to rely on further support and encouragement from him again now.”

She said William was determined to do something meaningful. He originally started running a kilometre a day when lockdown began on 5 January, mainly around the family’s garden at Staines, but had increased the distance to a mile a day.

“He isn’t normally a runner but, being rugby-mad, he is quite fit and he also plays for the under-13s at school.

“William is so grateful to everyone who has donated to his fundraising page, many anonymously which has meant he hasn’t been able to thank them individually. Raising money for a worthwhile cause has really given him a focus.”

The Brain Tumour Research community development manager, Charlie Allsebrook, said: “William’s lockdown challenge is so inspiring and what he is doing has obviously captured the hearts of his community, judging by all the donations.

“We are grateful to William and his family for their support and for helping to raise awareness.”

To sponsor William, visit www.justgiving.com and search for William Priddy.