Harry Potter star takes part in Royal Sutton Fun Run as many dress up to help good causes

The Royal Sutton Fun Run brings out the best in the town with thousands of people pounding the streets and park for good causes while thousands more cheer them on their way. Sutton Coldfield ’s annual run, come race, some stroll in the glorious sunshine (this year at least), is an event that’s taken over the town for one day a year.

It has raised more than £5 million for charities and good causes in the process. Keen club runners pelt around the 8.5 mile route which snakes through the roads of the town centre, before diving into the much-loved wooded Sutton Park, up the notorious Cardiac Hill, then out through Four Oaks Gate and downhill to home.

But others don shirts or outfits to raise money for good causes close to their heart. And this year among them was a Harry Potter star – a native of these parts.

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Former Arthur Terry pupil and longstanding Suttonian, James Phelps, one half of the Weasley twins in the popular Harry Potter film series, met up with old pals to take on the course and raise cash and awareness for Fragile X Society.

The 38-year-old – Fred Weasley in the Potter films – was alongside friend Elliott Phillips at the finish – with 40 in total scattered around the course raising money for the cause after a friend’s son has the Fragile X Syndrome – a genetic condition which causes learning, physical and intellectual difficulties.

Harry Potter star, James Phelps (right), aka Fred Weasley, took part in the Royal Sutton Fun Run for the first time, with pal Elliott Phillips and 38 others to raise cash for the Fragile X Society
Harry Potter star, James Phelps (right), aka Fred Weasley, took part in the Royal Sutton Fun Run for the first time, with pal Elliott Phillips and 38 others to raise cash for the Fragile X Society

James told BirminghamLive: “This is the first time I have done the fun run and I have lived here all my life. A lot of mates I went to school with all came together to run for Fragile X Society. A friend’s youngest lad has the condition. There are 40 of us doing it.

“The last bit was the best. We saw the finish line and went hell for leather. It’s fantastic seeing Sutton so busy.”

His friend Elliot said he was disappointed he ‘missed the sweets’ he tried to grab from a kindly spectator handing them out. And James added they were all now headed for a ‘debrief in the pub’.

As well as film stars some came as film characters. Take Gary O’Dwyer who came as Thor this year after being Mario and Luigi in previous years.

The 40-year-old from Boldmere was raising money for Birmingham Hospice and said: “It’s boiling!

Thor, aka, Gary O'Dwyer, from Boldmere was raising money for Birmingham Hospice
Thor, aka, Gary O’Dwyer, from Boldmere was raising money for Birmingham Hospice

“I loved it at Boldmere Gate where all the kids had water guns (like he did behind his Thor’s hammer). But Cardiac Hill was the worst.” He added: “It’s the best day of the year in Sutton.”

Jacob Seager and dad Andy in purple with family took part in the fun run to support The Daisy Garland Trust which helps children with drug-resistant epilepsy
Jacob Seager and dad Andy in purple with family took part in the fun run to support The Daisy Garland Trust which helps children with drug-resistant epilepsy

Andy Seager, 48, was out with son Jacob, 11, in his wheelchair, Richard Seagar, 46, Thomas Seager, 10, and Greg Curtis 33 running for The Daisy Garland Trust which helps children with drug-resistant epilepsy. He said it was a ‘team effort’ and enjoyed ‘the finish and Monmouth Drive’ and didn’t like Cardiac Hill.

Rachel Smith, 54, dressed with a bow in her hair and tutu had been out with her partner Rob Coleman, 56, similarly dressed who is from Sutton but taking part in their first fun run. The couple live in Stourbridge. She said the event was ‘really well supported’ and enjoyed the ‘downhill finish line’, making up for the punishing Cardiac Hill.

Not only people but four-legged friends can take part in the Sutton Fun Run take Wayne Gobey, 48, and his spaniel, Bailey, 18-months, who sped around the course to Bailey's delight
Not only people but four-legged friends can take part in the Sutton Fun Run take Wayne Gobey, 48, and his spaniel, Bailey, 18-months, who sped around the course to Bailey’s delight

One man and his dog – Wayne Gobey, 48, and spaniel, Bailey, 18 months haired around the course. Wayne has just done the London Marathon so 8.5 miles may have seemed a breeze. Wayne’s partner Claire Harrison, 47, was out with their Patterdale Terrier, Luna.

He said Bailey was ‘mad for it’ and enjoyed it all especially the park with hill at the end made him ‘whoopie’. He loved it all but Wayne didn’t like – you guessed it Cardiac Hill. But would console himself with a Guinness.

Douglas Cave was running memory of his daughter Stephanie who died aged 19 at a mental health hospital in Cardiff after taking her own life. He was supported by Stephanie’s friend, Sophie Hurst, Steve Davey, 53 and Nicky Davey.

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Doug from Streetly said: “The system let her down. Stephanie was referred from Walsall to Cardiff and was there seven months. We have been raising money in her memory to help people with mental health issues for eight years.” Doug enjoyed ‘finishing’ while Sophie enjoyed the run after the end of Cardiac Hill.

Alfie Spouse, 24 Jack Wade, 24 and Henry Wade, 23 came with inflatable rings round their waists – as ‘the beach boys’. While joined by Stegosaurus Steve (Wade), 54 and Zoe Herbert 23. Alfie said the rings ‘made me feel like I was in the way’. They could easily have taken a dip in Keepers Pool and stayed afloat though!

Joanna Watts, 40, from Solihull came dressed as a bright sunflower – and she enjoyed the conditions. Especially ‘getting watered’. “I loved the crowd – they were my sunshine,” she said.

As red as lobsters - but not by being sunburnt - Robert McKenzie-Trem, Reece Rhys, Maddy Johnson and Sophie Fitzpatrick, pounds the fun run's route in full on crustacean outfits
As red as lobsters – but not by being sunburnt – Robert McKenzie-Trem, Reece Rhys, Maddy Johnson and Sophie Fitzpatrick, pounds the fun run’s route in full on crustacean outfits

A group of bright red lobsters – donned the outfits after a visit to Glastonbury last year where the crustacean was one acts ‘thing’ and now it’s their thing. Sophie Fitzpatrick 31, Reece Rhys, 34 and Robert McKenzie-Trem, 32 all from Manchester, joined Maddy Johnson, 30 from Sutton. Sophie said the crowd were ‘amazing’. “Everywhere you turn there was somebody cheering’”

McDonald’s employee, William Lerwill from Burntwood came dressed as Ronald McDonald to raise money for Ronald McDonald House. The 17-year-old loved the encouragement he got but didn’t like Cardiac Hill. He says he’d celebrate ‘with a Maccies’ – and asked what was his favourite he said ‘a triple cheeseburger’.

McDonald's employee, William Lerwill from Burntwood came as Ronald McDonald to appropriately back the Ronald McDonald House charity
McDonald’s employee, William Lerwill from Burntwood came as Ronald McDonald to appropriately back the Ronald McDonald House charity

The Real Like Church that meets at Sutton Girls’ School pushed an elephant around to promote the March of the Elephants Trail coming soon. And to raise money for foodbanks – the 50-strong group netting £5,500 so far and hoping to get a bit more. Matt Yates, 46, from the group said ‘always Cardiac Hill is the worst’ while ‘the end’ was the best.

The event brings families together take dad and grandad André Smith, 63, his daughter Charlotte, 29 and her son Elijah just nine months. The family from Great Barr loved going around together with Charlotte ‘loved the crowd’.

While a group from the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine donned military fatigues and packs weighing at least 10kg to prepare for the Nijmegen Marches in Holland in July, while raising cash for University Hospitals Birmingham’s charities including nearby Good Hope Hospital.

Military medics from the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine based at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham took part in the Royal Sutton Fun Run wearing army fatigues and carrying packs of at least 10kg
Military medics from the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine based at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham took part in the Royal Sutton Fun Run wearing army fatigues and carrying packs of at least 10kg

Warrant Officer Nicholas McKenzie, 55, said: “Nine of us took part. We work in A&E and as nurses. And treat any military injured anywhere around the world who return home. I loved the crowd. We ran the last bit too.”

And Royal Sutton Fun Run stalwart, Paul Johnson, took part in his first fun run since his son Alfie died. Alfie was starved of oxygen when he was born and suffered brain damage and died on the 26 th of November last year, just two weeks after his 16 th birthday.

Paul set up the Friends of Alfie Johnson to help his son and others who are affected by brain injuries and has taken part in the fun run for years raising money to help people. This year, the first without Alfie, saw Paul, a former Sutton Coldfield Observer photographer, take part with son Finlay, 12 and daughter Megan, 8. Next week he’s taking on the Three Peaks Challenge for the charity in his son’s name and then a summer ball – all to help others.

And helping others is what the Royal Sutton Fun Run is all about. Millions of pounds raised over the years, with thousands given to hundreds of charities and good causes. A celebration of thinking of others and something that makes Suttonians proud…

Birmingham Live – Sutton Park