ONE in seven entrants in Oxford’s first charity Rainbow Run will be taking part in memory of a Bicester youngster.
A total of 114 people will be part of Team Thomas at the event for Helen and Douglas House Hospice at University Parks on Sunday.
More than 700 people in clean white t-shirts begin the 3km route at 9am and be pelted with coloured powdered paint.
The 114 are running for Thomas Laurie, who died this year aged nine.
The Bicester youngster had Cockayne Syndrome, a rare genetic premature ageing condition. He died at the East Oxford hospice in February.
His mum Catherine, 42, dad Richard, 45, sister Ellie, 12, plus hospice staff are among those who will take part.
Mrs Laurie said: “The Rainbow Run is a perfect way for us to raise money in Thomas’s name.
“Tom was such a colourful, happy and fun loving boy and would have loved to have taken part with us. To do this in his memory, with our friends and family, is so special.”
The family has pledged to raise money for the hospice, support group Amy and Friends Cockayne Syndrome UK and Oxfordshire children’s respite nursing charity Rosy.
Mr Laurie, a teacher at Bicester’s King’s Meadow School, said: “We wanted to take part in the Rainbow Run to keep Thomas’ memory alive by creating a lasting legacy in his name and raise money for a great local charity who gave us wonderful support.
“It started as a family project and through our amazing friends and family, and it has become something much bigger than we ever imagined.
“It will be lovely to get together with friends and family as well as many of the care team at Helen and Douglas House who will also be running, who we got to know so well over the time we visited the hospice.
“I would like to say a big thank you to all of them for coming and supporting us at the Rainbow Run and it is wonderful Thomas meant so much to them.
“People are coming from as far afield as Manchester, Liverpool and Dorset.”
The event will include a zumba warm-up and an artwork display by the 3rd Cowley Brownies.
There will also be a giant canvas for runners to write colourful messages and drawings on.
Poppy Hanbury, community events fundraiser at Helen and Douglas House, said: “The Rainbow Run is all about celebration and having fun.
“It is wonderful that so many of Thomas’ family and friends are running in his memory and we cannot thank them enough for supporting the charity in this way.
“We have other families, staff and volunteers taking part, as well as the general public, and we would like to say a big thank you to everyone. It should be a colourful, wonderful day.”
To sponsor Team Thomas see facebook.com/RunningForThomasLaurie