Potterne’s cricket community was able to come together this weekend - and mark the very special achievement of eight-year-old Luka Bayes.

He had taken on a marathon challenge around his local cricket club for Julia’s House children’s hospice.

Luka, who plays for the Under 9’s at Potterne Cricket Club, has been running at least one mile every day since his eighth birthday last month.

As well as running on his dad’s treadmill and near his home in Potterne, Luka has been doing laps around the village’s cricket club grounds.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Photo by Trevor PorterPhoto by Trevor Porter

He ran his final marathon mile on Saturday (May 1) to a supportive crowd - as the club’s first team took on Bridgewater Cricket Club.

Luka’s father, Jamie Bayes, said: “I’ve been volunteering at the club for a while now and we’re regularly fundraising and supporting Julia’s House up there, so Luka knows about the charity and actually visited the Devizes hospice soon after it opened.

“He understands that the children that Julia’s House look after have life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, and he wanted to raise money to help them have whatever they needed.”

“I think because of Julia’s House being a local charity that cares for local families, it felt like something he could relate to as well,” he added.

Nicky Clack, fundraising administrator for Julia’s House, added: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to Luka for taking on his marathon challenge. It’s really heart-warming that he wants to make a difference for the children we care for in his local area.

“We’re also really grateful to everyone at Potterne Cricket Club for supporting Julia’s House for so many years.

“We don’t receive any ongoing government funding in Wiltshire, so our fundraisers and supporters really do keep our care going – in our Devizes hospice, in the community and in local family homes.”

Donate to the fundraiser here

As well as finishing his marathon, Luka also presented Potterne Cricket Club chairman Fred Kerley with a certificate of appreciation from the UK Community Network - for being a UK Community Hero.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Photo by Trevor PorterPhoto by Trevor Porter

Nominated by local councillor Anna Cuthbert, Fred was recognised for his hard work and help to local people during the coronavirus pandemic. On behalf of Anna, Luka said: “Things were really hard for some people and you kept us all going.

"She said that I’m a community hero too and that it would be good for me to give this to you and say thank you from everyone in Potterne and the club.”

On receiving his certificate, Fred said: “I couldn’t be more proud of the way the club reached out to people in the community and supported them during those first difficult months of the restrictions and throughout the last year.

"We were able to recognise the outstanding work of the keyworkers in Potterne and say thank you for keeping the country going in our NHS, supermarkets, emergency services and schools.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

"I don’t consider myself to be a hero but it’s amazing to have received this national award and be presented with it by our young community hero Luka on the same day as he has finished his epic run for Julia’s House.”