A 16-year-old schoolboy has run 130 miles to raise money for a family support charity that provides a lifeline to struggling parents of young children.

Max Homfray-Cooper, who lives in Stevenage, has run the epic distance – equivalent to five marathons – during lockdown to raise vital funds for Home-Start Hertfordshire, as well as for the karting club he belongs to at his school, Barclay Academy.

He said: “When school abruptly finished for me in March, and my GCSEs were cancelled, in order to keep myself busy I tried my hand at running. To start with it was a good way to keep fit, and offered an excuse to get out of the house.

“After a few weeks, I set myself an initial challenge of running 5k every day for one week. After completing this I wanted to push myself and set a tougher challenge - to run the equivalent of five marathons in 30 days.

“As the impact of coronavirus has increased, so has the financial pressure on families across the UK, which led me to the idea of raising money for charity.”

Max completed the challenge in just 21 days and has raised £1,150, which will be split evenly between Home-Start and the karting club, which Max has been a member of for five years.

He explained: “The club provides opportunities for school students to race karts at different circuits across the country, competing in the National Schools and Youth Group Karting Association league. Essential funds for the club would normally be raised through various fundraising events, but these have not been able to take place this year, so any money I can raise will help.”

Home-Start supports families who have at least one child under the age of five and are struggling with disability, poverty, mental illness, multiple births - the list goes on – by providing one-to-one support from trained volunteers.

Max said: “Home-Start Herts is doing amazing work supporting families that find themselves in difficult situations.

“COVID-19 has placed an even greater strain on families who are vulnerable, isolated or facing mental health challenges.

“Financial support for Home-Start will ensure their volunteers can be there for these families and their children as the long-term impact of COVID-19 unravels.”