Great Offley mum’s 50km trek to raise funds for youth mental health cause

PUBLISHED: 13:54 28 July 2018

Kate Griffiths, 49, at the end of the Race to the Stones in Avebury. Picture: Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones

Kate Griffiths, 49, at the end of the Race to the Stones in Avebury. Picture: Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones

Archant

A mum from Great Offley has walked 50km in the melting heat to help support mental health resilience among schoolchildren.

Kate Griffiths during the Race to the Stones, at a point where her bag opened and loo roll fell out. Picture: Courtesy of Kate GriffithsKate Griffiths during the Race to the Stones, at a point where her bag opened and loo roll fell out. Picture: Courtesy of Kate Griffiths

Kate Griffiths took part the Race to the Stones – a gruelling trek from The Chilterns down to Avebury in Wiltshire – to raise funds for Colourful Classrooms, a programme helping children with mental health issues to develop empathy and compassion.

Kate, 49, took on half of the 100km course and completed the 50km in under 13 hours. She and her fellow fundraisers have so far brought in £3,200 for the cause.

“I have always lived by the mantra that I want to be fab at 50,” Kate told the Comet.

“I will be 50 next year, so I asked a friend who does a physical challenge each yerar what she would be doing this year.

Kate Griffiths and her friends Will Rose, Charlotte Angus, Jo Menon and Kate Griffiths - Dom's Dames, in hour of a late friend of Jo and Will's - at the end of the Race to the Stones. Picture: Courtesy of Kate GriffithsKate Griffiths and her friends Will Rose, Charlotte Angus, Jo Menon and Kate Griffiths - Dom's Dames, in hour of a late friend of Jo and Will's - at the end of the Race to the Stones. Picture: Courtesy of Kate Griffiths

“It was an ultramarathon, the Race to the Stones, and it appealed to me because it finished at Avebury stone circle. So I said I would do 50km.

“I did it, and was very proud because I was nearly a decade older than the rest of my team.”

Explaining her motivations, Kate said the education system was being stretched to the limits – but that “so many are complaining about the funding cuts, when we need a radically different approach to education”.

She said: “My passion comes from the fact my own daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia and process issues four years ago, and the local school did not have the resources to help.

“In part this was because she was bright and finding her own coping strategies.”

The situation improved when Kate moved her daughter to Letchworth’s independent St Christopher School to complete primary education.

“Its child-centred approach really worked for her, but not everyone can afford private education,” she said.

Kate, who co-wrote the book Colourful Boardrooms about the transformation nature of business leadership, decided to apply the same principles to youngsters with Colourful Classrooms – working with children aged nine and up.

She hopes it has the potential to create “sustainable change within the classroom”.

“To deal with the complexity of the issues we face as a society, we need to teach young people the art of collaboration so they understand how to influence others and build relationships,” she said.

If you’d like to support Kate’s fundraising, go to justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kate-griffiths.

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