‘I enjoy running..it makes me feel free’

Connor ran to raise money to improve Blind School
Connor ran to raise money to improve Blind School
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CONNOR Simpson was born without sight but that hasn’t stopped him from running a 2.62km circuit to raise funds for his school.

A pupil at the Royal Blind School in Morningside for a year, the 15-year-old ran the Mini Kilomathon on Sunday at Murrayfield Stadium.

He was tethered to his PE teacher David Palencia to raise money for the school’s Courtyard Project fundraising appeal.

Connor, who had been in training for the event, said: “I really enjoy running because it makes me feel free.

“I have been practising running in PE. I think I’m quite fast and I was excited to do the race.”

Inspired to take on the run after representing the Lothians at the Sportshall Athletics National Finals, a grassroots championship programme, the teenager has hit his stride on the running track.

The Royal Blind School provides education and care for visually impaired young people from primary age to 18, many of whom have additional support needs.

The money raised will transform four courtyards into sensory outdoor play and learning areas and will include a kitchen garden and accessible outdoor fitness equipment.

The school hopes to make their outside environment as interactive and stimulating as their inside spaces.

Staff expect the new courtyards to promote enjoyment of the outdoors and encourage the young people to interact with nature and be more active in the new-build active play area, sensory play area, garden and chill-out zone for older pupils.

The plans to improve the school’s facilities got Connor reaching for his running shoes.

He said: “When I heard about the Courtyards Project I decided I wanted to help. I really like it at the Royal Blind School, especially doing home economics and PE, and I have made lots of friends.”

Connor was looking forward to the race and ran with his teacher on the day using a hooped piece of fabric which was worn around both of their arms. The simple device meant that they could both run safely and have as much fun as possible during it.

The duo made it around the track in a speedy 23 minutes and 57 seconds and smashed Connor’s target of £250, raising a fantastic £600.

Mr Palencia said: “Connor performed very well in the Sporthall Athletics National Finals, especially in the running events. He obviously really enjoyed the competition, and was very keen to take part in more races and running events so I suggested the Mini Kilomathon.

“I think it’s fantastic that Connor wanted to raise some money towards the Courtyards Project.

“We’re all very proud of him.”

Founded in 1835, the Royal Blind School provides education and care for boarders and day care pupils and strives to support them lead fully inclusive and fulfilling lives.