The XII Boys are a close group of friends from Eastbourne, who all went to school together and share a love for football. Despite the name, there are actually 17 of them! These days they’re spread across the country, but still keep in contact daily and have decided to virtually come together to help raise money for St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

With the European Football Championships cancelled this summer due to the pandemic, the boys are unable to have their regular meet ups and express their love for football, so instead, they came up with a football themed fundraising challenge that would put themselves to the test. On Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th July, they will be collectively running the distance from Eastbourne to Wembley Stadium and back, totalling up to 190 miles.

‘Because we are such a large group, we are currently located all around the UK, so the plan is for individuals to complete their runs in a location of their choosing,’ Thomas Sayer, one member of the group, told me, ‘the majority will be in Eastbourne, including the start and finishing runs. The distances ran are going to be varied for each individual, but have been set by each person as a personal challenge.

‘We plan on creating a virtual relay (real where possible) where a football will be passed from one runner to the next as they finish their run.

‘A few of us have experienced first hand the incredible work that St Wilfrid’s do and the support they have provided to their loved ones. It's a charity that is close to many of our hearts and we would love the privilege to help support such a fantastic charity, especially at a time where it may be needed the most.’

I asked the boys how they’re feeling about the upcoming challenge:

‘I'm a little nervous about my run, because I'm really not much of a runner. But despite the nerves I'm determined to do well. The work St Wilfrid’s does has impacted all of us in one way or another, so raising money for a cause I know in my heart to be more than worthy is an extra motivator!’ - Charlie Frame.

‘I strongly dislike running. I started training for this marathon over a month ago now. I still dislike running, but it's an incredible cause so I am not going to give up until it's over!’ - Thomas Sayer.

‘To say I’m excited would be an understatement. It’s going to be an amazing weekend celebrating the personal achievements of my closest mates, all while raising money for an absolutely fantastic cause. Having something to work towards during lockdown was a great help for me mentally, and being able to support St Wilfrid’s to continue the incredible work they do has been tremendous motivation!’ - Ross Demel.

If you would like to sponsor the XII boys and help them reach their fundraising target before the challenge day, you can find their JustGiving page here.

Do you have an idea for a Virtual Challenge you could do in support of St Wilfrid's Hospice? Visit our Virtual Challenge page here to register today!