Todmorden man's Great North challenge to raise funds and awareness after nephew died in Rochdale reservoir tragedy

Challenge: David is running for a childrens charity and in memory of his nephew PaulChallenge: David is running for a childrens charity and in memory of his nephew Paul
Challenge: David is running for a childrens charity and in memory of his nephew Paul
A man running this year's Great North Run is fundraising in memory of his nephew who tragically died earlier this year.

Sixteen-year-old Paul Lawson drowned after getting into difficulties while swimming with friends at Greenbooth Reservoir, Rochdale, in June and his uncle David Rez will be running to raise money for The Sick Children’s Trust, a charity that runs free “home from home” accomodation for families with seriously ill children in hospital.

David Rez, 37, of Todmorden, will be visiting Crawford House, one of the homes, located next to Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, where the race begins.

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He has set himself the challenge of running 350 km between now and the race in September.

David said: “No parent should be separated from their child for any reason, especially not when they’re going through such a difficult and emotional time. And not only is it scary for mum and dad but it must be terrifying for the seriously ill child in hospital. The wonderful work of The Sick Children’s Trust means that families can stay together when they need to the most. I hope that whatever I raise will help The Sick Children’s Trust continue its vital work, keeping families together just minutes away from their loved ones’ bedsides. I’m really looking forward to seeing Crawford House when I go up for the race, meeting the team and the families being supported by the charity.

“Paul tragically drowned in a reservoir in June when he was swimming with friends, so I set myself the challenge of running 350km between then and September to help raise money and awareness of unsafe waters, before finishing off with the Great North Run which I’ll be doing in his name.

“I’ve never been a massive runner, I’ve only ever really done it to keep an eye on the waistline so as you can imagine I’m doing a lot of training in preparation. I’m quite a busy bee at the moment, but I’m really looking forward to it and what’s running a few extra miles to me if it can help others? That can only be a good thing and I just hope it will encourage more people will do the same.”

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If you’d like to donate to David’s fundraising page, visit:

The Sick Children’s Trust relies entirely on voluntary donations to run its ten “homes from home” across the country, for info visit