A Biddulph girl ran two marathons during lockdown after being inspired by the restoration of an iconic local attraction.
Mia Hearson raised more than £1,000 by running 52 miles for Biddulph Grange Garden’s project to restore its Chinese bridge.
The young Woodhouse Academy student was 10 at the time of the challenge and had heard about the work going on at the gardens from her grandmother.
Mum Nicola Hearson said: “Biddulph Grange has always held a special place in her heart, because her gran works there. She used to call it granny’s garden.
“She was inspired by her gran telling her about the situation with the bridge and decided that she wanted to help.”
The wooden bridge forms part of the China garden, designed by horticulturist James Bateman as a hidden, mysterious part of the larger Biddulph Grange Gardens. The vibrant and colourful structure deteriorated over time and a campaign to restore it was launched in 2019. The trust had launched a raffle but then lockdown hit.
Mrs Hearson continued: “I was proud that during a difficult time, Mia stuck with it and went out in rain, sleet and snow.
“I don’t think she fully realises what she has done. She loves to run, and she just went out and did what she wanted to do. I was impressed with her for coming up with the challenge.”
Mia, now aged 11, is also a keen triathlete, training regularly with Newcastle Triathlon Club and has aspirations to complete the London and New York marathons in the future. She was congratulated on her fundraising efforts by Paul Walton, the garden manager.
He said: “To have run two marathons in all weathers at that age is absolutely fabulous. She should be so proud of herself. It is absolutely incredible.
“Her thoughtfulness in raising this money will help us to keep the project on track to get it finished this year.”
Of the project, Mr Walton said: “There have been some delays because of covid, but we would like to think that by the end of the year we can have a completion date sorted.
“It is a really important part of Biddulph Grange because it is at the centre of this wonderful garden.
“Wood, over a period of time, rots. At the stage it is at, it actually needs taking out, and that is a huge job.
“It’s a five-figure project, but we’re a charity and money is very limited, with everything we make going back into the running of the garden.”