Sunday, 14 April 2024
Sunday, 14 April 2024

Liverpool business leader running 500km in 100 days for charity

A North West business leader is running 500 kilometres in 100 days to support disadvantaged families throughout Christmas.

James Winters, the owner of leading electrical firm M-Tech and the Phoenix Hotel, has set off running five kilometres every day until Christmas Eve.

James will eventually clock up the equivalent of more than 11 marathons across three months with his ‘Running Up To Xmas’ initiative.

James is running to raise money for his SMILE (Support Mission in Liverpool Education) Project, which he launched in conjunction with Big Trust in 2016, as well as Football for Change (FFC), a social mobility charity started by football superstars last year.

Jamie Carragher, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Coady and Dominic Calvert-Lewin set up the major initiative last year, with FFC raising £350,000 at its second major charity gala in Manchester last month, with legendary Oasis rocker Noel Gallagher headlining the event.

An auction on the night raised more than £300,000 with a series of incredible, once-in-a-lifetime prizes available.

An all-expenses paid meet-and-greet with David Beckham in Miami, to watch his Inter Miami football team, was sold for more than £30,000 while a prize donated by Formula 1 went for over £20,000. Noel Gallagher then signed a series of his guitars to auction, fetching another £20,000.

James wants SMILE – which works with five to 11-year-olds at schools in low-income areas – to eventually work with every primary in the city, recently organising a workshop at St. Monica’s in Bootle to offer a health and wellbeing day alongside Liverpool Football Club for over 500 children.

James will be joined at different stages of his run by friends, family members, business leaders and celebrities, with money raised shared between SMILE and Football for Change.

Winters said:

“Families in poverty cannot decide to take a night off, and this is why I want to raise as much money as possible over the next three months without missing a day.

“I am making this commitment and hoping others can join the collective. With rising energy bills and the cost of living crisis, it is more important than ever to take the pressure off families who are struggling.

“I believe every child should wake up on Christmas morning with a gift, a warm home and food on the table. But families also feel the pressure in the build-up to Christmas and I want to ensure everyone is safe, healthy and happy during these uncertain times.”

James will not be satisfied leaving ‘Running Up to Xmas’ at 500 kilometres and the festive season.

He continued:

“I want this to continue growing. It does not just have to be until Christmas. As I mentioned earlier, poverty does not just suddenly stop for those families in need.

“I would love to see people running throughout the year, spreading the message from Liverpool to Manchester, to Birmingham, to London, eventually running towards parliament and putting pressure on politicians to make real change in this country.

“But it all starts here, and I want to do my part and give disadvantaged families a Christmas to remember.”

Last Christmas, James, who owns the Phoenix Hotel in Kirkdale alongside architect Rob Edwards, invited 10 families in need to stay at his boutique inn, personally chauffeuring guests to the venue and presenting children with presents.

Football for Change, who will receive part of the funding from James’ run, partner with the Communities Foundation for Lancashire and Merseyside who distribute the grants to initiatives supporting young people.

Rae Brooke, CEO of the Community Foundation For Lancashire and Merseyside who administers The Football for Change fund, said:

“This is a marvellous gesture from James and one which will have an incredible impact on disadvantaged families this Christmas.

“James is a successful businessman, born and raised in Liverpool, who has not forgotten his roots in the city.

“The money raised will go a long way to ensuring children and families in the area have a Christmas to remember in challenging times for many people struggling with the cost of living. I am delighted James is an ambassador for Football for Change.”

James will run 500 kilometres in 100 days to raise money for the SMILE Project and Football for Change. You can donate by visiting his JustGiving page.

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