Landlord’s race for St Joseph’s School

John Taylor carries the Olympic Torch SUS-150313-102220001
John Taylor carries the Olympic Torch SUS-150313-102220001

A Surrey landlord is preparing to run a marathon across the Sussex coast to raise vital funds for St Joseph’s Specialist School & College in Cranleigh.

On Saturday 21st March, John Taylor, owner of The Richard Onslow in the village will be taking to the dramatic cliff ridden coastline route between Eastbourne and Seaford to take part in the Endurance Life marathon. His goal is to raise £2000 to cover the cost of a new outdoor table tennis table for the school.

A keen sportsman, John decided to tackle his first marathon to help the school which is on his doorstep in Cranleigh. “I was looking to do something for a local charity, so when I heard the school needed new sporting equipment for the pupils, it all fell into place.

“Each child who attends St Joseph’s has learning difficulties and almost all struggle with basic communication, making everyday life for them and their families challenging. Added to that, their disabilities often mean they can’t make use of community sport and leisure facilities, so I decided to do something to help them buy new sports equipment of their own,” he says.

“I’ve been training hard, running cross country routes three or four times a week and going to the gym, as I’m determined to give it my best shot. I’ve also been fundraising hard, asking regulars at the pub as well as family, friends and colleagues to sponsor me, so I can raise the money they need to buy a new outdoor table tennis table to go into the school grounds. I’m hoping as many people as possible will give as much as they can,” he says.

Shirley Illsley, fundraiser at St Joseph’s explains how important the support of the local community as well as specific initiatives such as John’s, are to the school.

“We are very pleased that John is supporting us by running the marathon and are helping him spread the word so that as many people as possible are aware of his efforts,” she says.

“Most of our children have a diagnosis of Autism with learning difficulties and very complex social needs. Our aim is to help them become as independent as possible. We work very hard to integrate as many of our students as possible into the local community on a regular basis and it is only the support of the village, including The Richard Onslow that allows that to happen. We really value this support and I know everyone at the school will be wishing John well when he takes part in the marathon later this month,” she adds.

Anyone who wants to sponsor John can do so by popping into The Richard Onslow any time from now to sign his sponsorship form, or by going to his Virgin Money Giving page at to make a pledge.

John will also be taking some of his team from the pub to participate in St Joseph’s next Grounds Day when pupils, their families, staff and the community will take part in outdoor activities at the school from 10am to 2pm on Saturday 14th March 2015.

For more information about St Joseph’s Specialist School & College, please go to

The Richard Onslow is in the heart of Cranleigh Village, at 113-117 High Street, Cranleigh, Surrey GU6 8AU. Tel: 01483 27 49 22

Report and picture contributd by Sarah Pracey.