A swimming teacher from Penrhyncoch has raised £4,280 in memory of his 11-year-old pupil, Joseph Kenobi.
Martienus Thomas hoped to raise £2,011 – Joseph was born in 2011 – by taking part in a 45-mile walk to raise money for a children’s cancer charity.
But Martienus’ challenge captured the hearts of many, raising a massive £4,280 (£5,000 with Gift Aid) for LATCH, a charity that has helped the Kenobi family so much.
Martienus said the Across Wales Walk “was a massive challenge”.
“I have enjoyed walking distances for a while,” he said.
“This was my first under an organised event which provided check points and challenges.
“I was so proud to walk for Joseph and his family.
“Fellow walkers were taken back with Joseph’s story.”
Joseph died on 11 June after a seven-year journey with brain cancer. He thoroughly enjoyed his weekly swimming lesson with Martienus at the pool at Penrhos Park in Llanrhystud, and the swimming instructor wanted to raise money in his memory.
Wearing his purple LATCH T-shirt on 2 September, Martienus did just that, completing the 86,806 steps along the route from Anchor Bridge on the Kerry Ridgeway to Clarach Bay.
“I would like to say thank you to everyone who donated and shared my JustGiving page,” Martienus said.
“I have a privileged job at Penrhos Park, Llanrhystud, teaching lovely people to gain confidence in water learning to swim.
“Joseph Kenobi was a lovely young man and I was fortunate to have met him and given him his confidence in water helping him achieve his goal to be able to go under water.
“Sadly my swimmer and my friend Joseph died aged just 11.
“It was a beautiful experience to walk with Joseph’s parents in the final stretch of my walk from Bow Street to Clarach bay.
“Joseph has definitely left memories in my heart I will treasure forever.
“A book by Eileen Fleming, The Crocodile That Stole the Sun, was a book that Joseph enjoyed and thanks to our many poolside chats is a book that I read to my daughters.”
He added: “We are fortunate to have a vital charity such as LATCH in Wales that provide so much, supporting children and their families when they need it most.
“I’m just a simple swimming instructor who, with Joseph’s memory, will help others in the future.”
Joseph’s mum Charlie said: “Martienus made over £4,000 which is amazing news.
“LATCH is there when you need it most. They have supported our family for seven years and will go on to support us as we come to terms with the loss of our son.
“There is so much to list; it is hard to convey but their emotional, physical and financial help has been vital to our wellbeing.”