Some mayoral goodwill and a regular caffeine shot is helping a Coventry charity walker hit his target well ahead of schedule.
Tony Cunningham, 72, is walking ten miles or more each day of 2022 fundraising for Molly Ollys, a charity supporting children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to help with their emotional wellbeing.
But Tony – who underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery a few years ago – is hitting 15 miles a day around the city’s War Memorial Park to speed towards his target – and is already at nearly 3100 miles.
He is also clocking up the miles in memory of his wife of 47 years, who sadly lost her battle with lung cancer last year.
Lord Mayor Kevin Maton and Molly Ollys co-founder and CEO Rachel Ollerenshaw joined Tony for a leg of his walk – supported by staff from the new Bistro in the park, where Tony gets his daily coffee fix.
The Bistro, which opened earlier in the summer, has sponsored Tony in his quest to pass the £5,000 mark as well as lending him moral support on a daily basis!
Tony said: “As a parent and grandparent, I’ve been keen to do my bit for children, parents and families facing tough circumstances, and Molly Ollys is a wonderful cause to dedicate my time to due to their fantastic work in this area.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has donated up to this point. The well wishes I’ve received on Facebook, through my JustGiving page and from kind-hearted visitors to Memorial Park has been astounding.
“The staff in the Bistro have also been excellent- really encouraging me and providing the pick-me-ups I need at the end of my walks. I can’t praise them enough.
“It’s great to be out in the fresh air and knowing that each mile I complete is getting me a step closer to my end goal. I’m motivated to go above and beyond my walking target, with the aim eventually being to reach the 5000-mile threshold, and hope to raise even more money in the process.”
Councillor Kevin Maton, Lord Mayor of Coventry, said: “It was great to join Tony on a leg of his daily ten mile walk for charity, and to learn more about the important work Molly Ollys are doing in Coventry and beyond to provide families up and down the country with avenues of support.”
Robert Andrews, retail operations manager for No Ordinary Hospitality Management, which runs the Bistro and other food and drink outlets in the park, said: “What Tony is doing is nothing short of fantastic. He’s taken it upon himself to raise as much money as possible for a wonderful cause, and we’re proud to have supported him in his fundraising efforts.
“We’re keen to fly the flag locally for charitable causes as much as possible, so it was a real pleasure to welcome Tony, the Lord Mayor and Molly Ollys to the Bistro.”
Rachel Ollerenshaw, co-founder & CEO of Molly Ollys, said: “We started Molly Ollys, in memory of my daughter Molly, to help amazing children like her and their parents get the help they truly deserve and to assist them in creating some special memories that’ll be cherished forever.
“We’re massively appreciative of Tony’s inspiring efforts. To tackle a big challenge like this is no small undertaking and he should be really proud of himself. We definitely are of him!”
To contribute to this great cause, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/anthony-cunningham5.
More details on the park Bistro can be found at https://www.warmemorialparkbistro.co.uk/ and at https://www.facebook.com/thebistroatwarmemorialpark/.