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Grantham schoolboy raises money for good causes in memory of late table tennis coach

A Grantham boy has raised hundreds of pounds for two good causes in memory of his late table tennis coach.

Joe Marlor, aged 15, completed a challenge to raise awareness of table tennis and disability.

With the London Marathon cancelled this year, the organisers encouraged participants to still take part in a virtual activity.

From left: Emily, Jo and Fraser Winfield, Jack Gurney, Karen and Joe Marlor, Oliver Maltby (42557656)
From left: Emily, Jo and Fraser Winfield, Jack Gurney, Karen and Joe Marlor, Oliver Maltby (42557656)

With that in mind Joe, a student of King’s School, spoke with his mum, Karen, and they came up with their own event, and turned it into a fund-raiser.

Joe is a keen table tennis player and sadly, back in April, his coach, Russell Winfield, passed away aged 59.

Joe decided to ‘Facebook Live’ his table tennis challenges and raise money in Russell’s memory.

Russell Winfield carrying the Olympic Torch in 2012 (33560811)
Russell Winfield carrying the Olympic Torch in 2012 (33560811)

Joe’s challenges weren’t that straight forward and he chose to take on 26 minutes for each task, a minute per mile of the London Marathon, against his mechanical practice partner. He took on each challenge as if he had a disability.

He did his first challenge with a bat taped to his hand, as if he had a hand missing. Next, he tried standing on one leg, and then sat on an office chair as if he was wheelchair bound. His mum, Karen said: “Lastly his final challenge was 26 minutes playing with the bat in his mouth. He was amazing!”

Russell’s family - his wife Jo and children Emily and Fraser - decided that the money raised would go towards The Talking Newspaper in Grantham, and they would buy table tennis equipment for the students at Ambergate Sports College. John Mapletoft, also a table tennis coach, very kindly donated extra bats and balls.

Russell was a life-long supporter of the Talking Newspaper, his father having benefited from its provision to people with visual impairment.

John Williams and Joe Marlor (42557659)
John Williams and Joe Marlor (42557659)

Joe and Karen, along with Jo, Fraser and Emily, presented the cheque to deputy chairman for the Talking Newspaper, John Williams.

John gave them a tour of the building and explained how despite the difficulties of covid, they continue to provide their news services to their listeners. He said: “I was delighted to hear of Joseph’s efforts.”

Russell was a great encourager and advocate of table tennis for all and for this reason, the funds raised were also used to support Ambergate, an additional needs school in Grantham.

Mr Maltby, PE lead at Ambergate, said: “We are so very grateful for Karen and Joe’s efforts. Thank you so much for thinking of us and donating such fantastic table
tennis equipment to our school.

“These are such a welcome addition to our table tennis equipment and it means that we can now be even more inclusive to our pupils.

“We would also like to extend our thanks to John Mapletoft who donated the additional equipment.”

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