Army veteran James Campbell-Barnard MBE is set to take on Sunday’s Bath Half Marathon to support an NSPCC initiative that helps keep children safe from abuse.
James, who served for over 20 years, has a very close connection with the children’s charity’s Schools Service as his wife, Sarah, delivers its Speak out Stay safe programme across Somerset.
The scheme is rolled out in primary schools across the county through school assemblies and workshops, and with the help of Childline mascot Buddy, the sessions teach children to identify trusted adults they can speak to if they have a worry or concern.
During each visit, the children also learn about physical, sexual and emotional abuse, as well as neglect and bullying.
In the last academic year, the NSPCC delivered its ‘Speak Out Stay Safe’ programme to over 30,000 primary school pupils in Bath, North Somerset, Bristol and Somerset, with 160 school visits.
The 46-year-old has gone above and beyond in his attempts to highlight the importance of the programme, and will be running the 13.1 mile course in a Buddy costume, which has been sponsored by his employers and NSPCC partner, KMPG.
James said: “Because of my wife, I have been living the Speak out Stay safe programme and I’m really aware of the work the NSPCC do.
“I’ve been hearing all about the experiences she has been having when she is out in schools.
“I wanted to challenge myself and do things a little bit different, so I’ve decided to run it as Buddy, who children learn about during each school visit.
“When I run in Bath, it will be the first time I would have ran in the costume because it has taken so long to make.”
Children meet Buddy during their school visit, and he helps them learn the Childline number in an interactive way.
Childline is a free, confidential service which is available any time, day or night and enables children to talk to trained counsellors by calling 0800 1111 or online at childline.org.uk.
Community Fundraising manager for Bath, Bristol and Somerset, Anna Keir added: “It’s so brilliant that James has chosen to run the Bath Half dressed as Buddy.
“Our supporters, like James, are truly amazing and inspiring and his efforts will help keep local children safe from abuse.
“I hope the thought of all the children he will be helping will give him the motivation he needs to get around the course.”
The NSPCC is a platinum partner and #TeamNSPCC members were given a fundraising pack as well as a running vest and training plan.
If you would like to support James with his fundraising, you can do so by visiting his fundraising page.