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Lancaster man takes on ultimate challenge in Japan to help Morecambe charity

Adam Kirkby at the famous Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo

A Lancaster man has completed 'Japan's Ultimate Urban Challenge' to raise money for a Morecambe-based charity.

Adam Kirkby took part in the Tokyo Yamathon for disabled children’s charity, Unique Kidz and Co

The Tokyo Yamathon is a fundraising challenge where teams of two to four people compete to walk through Tokyo, visiting all 30 stations of the JR Yamanote train line in under 12 hours.

The Yamanote Line is one of Tokyo’s busiest and most important train lines that links many of its urban centres such as Shinjuku, Marunouchi and Shinagawa.

Adam did it to raise money for Unique Kidz & Co because the charity, based on Woodhill Lane in Morecambe, supports his nephew, Thomas.

The event raises money for Yokohama Children’s Hospice, one of only a couple of hospices in Japan.

Hisato Tagawa founded the hospice having read about UK children’s hospices when his daughter became unwell and tragically died.

“My friend Joe Pournovin is one of the organisers of the Yamathon and I read about Hisato Tagawa’s dream of a mutually supportive society in which the children and families living with life-threatening conditions are not left isolated," said Adam.

"Unique Kidz and Co are not a hospice but provide respite, support and fun for children and families to counter isolation. We are so fortunate to have the organisation near us.”

To enter the Yamathon, individuals must be part of a team, so Adam was paired up with Josue Cruz (pictured below with Adam) who lives in Japan.

Each team must plan their own route around the line and are responsible for their own navigation. Teams can take shortcuts along the way and go in any order they like but they must visit all 30 stations.

Adam and Josue finished 23rd out of 314 teams taking part, completing the 42km course in seven hours 42 minutes and 30 seconds. A total of £90 was contributed towards the Yokohama Children’s Hospice, whilst Adam raised £500 in sponsorship for Unique Kidz and Co.

Chris Pilkington, fundraiser for Unique Kidz and Co said “We are so grateful when all our supporters let us know they are taking on a fundraising challenge for us, but when Adam came to tell us about the Tokyo Yamathon, we were so excited!

"It is incredible to see Adam wearing the Unique Kidz and Co colours at the famous Shibuya Crossing and raise awareness of our Morecambe charity in the busiest city in the world!

"On top of all this great exposure, Adam has also managed to raise an amazing £500 for us which will go a long way in supporting his nephew Thomas and his friends at our club.”

Unique Kidz and Co is a Morecambe based charity which runs a range of services for disabled children, young adults and their families. The charity was set up in 2009 by two parents of children with disabilities.

It currently supports over 180 local children and young adults through its afterschool clubs, holiday clubs, daytime support service, siblings group and stay and play sessions.

Unique Kidz and Co relies heavily on fundraising and grants to be able to continue providing its life changing services. The charity needs to raise at least £180,000 each year to continue.

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