My challenge of a lifetime

Janet Tolley, Tracy Wilcocks and Donna Siberry - with dog Velvet - running the London Marathon for Dogs for the Disabled
Janet Tolley, Tracy Wilcocks and Donna Siberry - with dog Velvet - running the London Marathon for Dogs for the Disabled

RASTRICK head teacher Janet Tolley is taking on the challenge of a lifetime to raise money to help a cause close to her heart.

Janet, aged 47, is running the London Marathon in April for the charity Dogs for the Disabled. Though she regularly jogs up to six miles to keep fit, she has never tackled a marathon distance before.

Her personal challenge has been inspired by 10-year-old Calderdale girl Lottie Wilcocks who has spina bifida and hydrocephalus and has faced many operations in her young life.

Janet, of Rastrick, is head teacher at Almonbury School and Language College, Huddersfield, where one of her colleagues is Chris Wilcocks, Lottie’s dad.“Life presents Lottie with many challenges but she is bright and charming with a great sense of fun and the most contagious giggle I have ever heard,” said Janet.

“She is helped enormously by a dog called Velvet through the Dogs for the Disabled charity. Velvet opens doors for Lottie, picks things up for her, helps her in so many ways as well as boosting her confidence.

“Seeing how much Velvet helps Lottie made me want to do something for the Dogs for the Disabled so that other young people will benefit.”

Lottie is a promising wheelchair athlete and twice a week she trains in Manchester.

Janet is married to Charles Tolley, who is involved with Brighouse Town FC and Rastrick Juniors. The couple have two sport-mad sons, Matthew and William.

“I come from a sporting family and I have always tried to keep fit but preparing for a marathon is something else. I managed to run 19 miles at the weekend and I just hope that determination will get me through.”

Janet is running the marathon on April 22 with Lottie’s mum Tracy and their friend Donna Siberry of Sowerby Bridge.

“Both of them have tackled marathons before and are proper runners!” said Janet.

“But I have been training in all weathers and promise to do my absolute best for a very good cause.”

Chris Wilcocks’ band Huxter is playing a charity gig to raise money for Dogs for the Disabled at Ripponden Conservative Club on Saturday, March 10 at 7.30pm.

Anyone who can sponsor Janet and her friends is asked to log onto www.justgiving.com/teamvelvet