Everton Ambassador, Ian Snodin, will be helping to kick-start a new legacy fun run, which is being held to celebrate the life of Rhys Jones.
The inaugural ‘Run for Rhys’ event takes place on Sunday 27 August at Croxteth Hall and Country Park and is being supported by Rhys’ parents, Mel and Steve Jones.
Everton fan Rhys was 11-years-old when his life was devastatingly cut short on 22 August 2007, just weeks before his 12th birthday. Rhys was shot walking home from football training in Croxteth after innocently being caught in the cross-fire between two rival gangs.
The Jones family’s heartbreaking story has recently been portrayed through the ITV drama series, ‘Little Boy Blue’.
Since 2013, the Rhys Jones Community Centre CIC has become an established hub in the Croxteth area, helping to raise aspirations, give hope and strengthen community unity – and has now set its sights on creating a lasting legacy event.
‘Run for Rhys’ participants can choose from three distances, covering 1 mile, 3k or 5k and former Everton star Snodin will be showing his support as he helps to start the final race at 12pm.
He said: “Everyone at Everton was deeply affected 10 years ago upon hearing about the passing of Rhys Jones and it’s a heartbreak which is still felt by the city of Liverpool.
“The Jones’ will always be part of the Everton family and we’d encourage all football fans to take part in the fun run. No matter your age or ability, there is a run for you to enter.
"Sport exists for us all to enjoy and, if we can use it to make a difference in the local community and honour Rhys’ memory, then that’s really special.”
Mel and Steve Jones said: “Run for Rhys is a positive way to celebrate Rhys’ life and is a fitting legacy in his name – it’s going to be an inspirational day. Rhys was never seen without a football at his feet, he was very sporty and would have been first on the start line.
“The Rhys Jones Community Centre CIC is a vital part of the community. We cannot thank the team enough for their continuing hard work and vision to take the centre forward.
“Losing a child in such devastating circumstances is something that no-one should ever go through. It’s something we will never get over.
“You take one day at a time and learn to cope in different ways. It’s been a long, tiring and difficult 10 years. But throughout the last decade we’ve continued to receive incredible support from the people of Liverpool and beyond. It means the world to us as a family, we really cannot thank people enough.
“It’s fantastic that people are taking part in the event to support the centre’s work and keep Rhys’ memory alive. Come and join us as we Run For Rhys.”
Run For Rhys will be held in the grounds of Croxteth Country Hall and Park, with the start-and-finish-line area outside the main hall, and family activities taking place in the grounds.
Everyone taking part in the 1 mile, 3k or 5k will receive a specially-designed technical running T-shirt, which can be collected beforehand so it can be worn for the run. All finishers will also receive a commemorative medal.
Fun run registration fees pay for the staging and delivery of all aspects of the event. Participants are encouraged to fundraise for the Rhys Jones Community Centre CIC to support its important work and community initiatives.
Sponsor forms are available, or donations can be made direct to the centre’s Go Fund Me page, here.
The one-mile fun run will start at 10am, followed by the 3k at 11am, with the 5k setting off at midday. Registration is £12 for the 1 mile; £14 for the 3k; and £16 for the 5k.
A virtual run option is also available for anyone unable to take part on the day.
Full details and online registration can be found here.