An inspiring primary school pupil has been named this week’s Charity Champion after raising over £1,300 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity in memory of his friend, Caleel, who sadly passed away in 2016 aged just eight-years-old.

In 2016, Caleel was involved in a road traffic collision when he was hit by a bus while crossing the road. He was taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for emergency treatment but sadly, his injuries were too severe to save him and he passed away. 

Two years later, his best friend Thomas, now 10, and Thomas’ dad, Gareth, 42, decided to fundraise in Caleel’s memory and raise vital funds for the hospital which treated him. 

Thomas met Caleel on the first day of school at Wylde Green Primary School in Sutton Coldfield when they were both aged four-years-old. Wanting to remember his friend, and do something positive in his honour, Thomas and Gareth signed up to the Great Midlands Fun Run earlier this year.

Commenting on the experience, Gareth said: “We spent a lot of time talking about Caleel after he died to help Thomas through his grief; we would recall our fondest and funniest memories of him and this prompted our decision to do something positive to remember him.

“On the day of the run, we were both nervous, but all we had to do was think of Caleel to get us through. When we got to ‘cardiac hill’ – the hill on the way out of Sutton Park – we agreed to run all the way to the top without stopping, holding the photo of him on our chests for inspiration.

“I am so proud of Thomas for how he has coped with the devastation of losing his best friend. All of our family and friends have been incredibly generous and I hope that this money can go towards giving medical care to another child and that there’s a happy ending this time.”

Thomas added: “I wanted to sign up to the run to remember my best friend while raising money for the hospital to try and stop others having to go through the same experiences we have – I hope taking part in the run helps other families.”

Serena Daw, Public Fundraising Manager at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity, added: “We’ve been blown away by Thomas and Gareth’s story and are truly honoured that they have chosen to support our charity in memory of Caleel. We’re incredibly grateful to them for taking on the run to raise vital funds for other children and families.

“We treat over 90,000 children and young people from across the country every year, and the money this inspirational father and son duo have raised will make a huge difference to the lives of our brave young children and their families all across our hospital.”