Four willing volunteers are in training to run a half marathon to raise funds to help support young people going to Lourdes – and they’d love you to sponsor them or even join in if you can!

NPCAT’s trust policy impact and assurance manager Catherine Kelly and her fiends Liz Jayasuriya, Chris Lovell and Father Phil Cunnah all hope to cover 13 miles, the distance of the Great North Run, which has been cancelled this year.

“Lourdes is a hugely formative experience for the young people who travel with their schools,” said Catherine, who came up with the idea and will run from Normanby to Saltburn with Liz.

“Volunteering to care for our supported pilgrims alongside doctors, nurses, handmaids, brancardiers and as musicians helps children form their aspirations for the future.”

Many of the pupils who will benefit from the funding attend those NPCAT schools that take groups of young pilgrims to Lourdes every year.

“Our youth actively participate in services and celebrations, reading in front of hundreds of pilgrims and building lasting friendships with one another spanning across the diocese from Hull to York and Middlesbrough,” said Catherine.

“We want to make sure all of our young people have the opportunity to participate. However, some of our schools are located in the most deprived areas of the country and many young people need extra financial support to attend.”

Primary school teacher Chris, who will be running from Norton to Yarm and back, was planning to take part in his fifth Great North Run this year.

He has been to Lourdes three times as a student and once as an adult and has a special reason to be devoted to the shrine – his parents Siobhan and Martin met there!

“The funds raised will help give children the opportunity for personal and spiritual growth and to travel and experience different customs,” said Chris.

“I’ve made friends for life through Lourdes and everyone you speak to about says the same. Even if you only see them once a year on pilgrimage, they’re still friends for life.

“Last year it was lovely to see how much some of the kids grew in confidence with the supported pilgrims. Put all that together and the reason to go is love and growth.”

Father Phil is going to run from his home at Bishop’s House in Linthorpe to St Mary’s Cathedral and back.

The event takes place on September 13, which is also Education Sunday, and Catherine would love it if others will also do something for our youth that day.

“It could be absolutely anything in your own home, outside, walking, cycling, running, knitting, whatever you want,” she said.

“We’d all do something individually but unite on social media by using the hashtag #runningforlourdesyouth and sharing what we’ve done.

“Once you’ve decided, share the Go Fund Me link with your story and then share a photo or document saying what you’ve done on the day, not forgetting to use the hashtag.

Follow @mymissionteam on Instagram and Twitter for live updates on the day.