SCHOOLGIRL Eve Wake has raised more than £2,000 for charity after running 70 kilometres in honour of her grandad after he was diagnosed with dementia.

Nine-year-old Eve, of Darlington, ran 10 kilometres a week for nearly two months before reaching her target on her grandad’s 70th birthday.

Now, Eve, has been presented with an award in recognition of her epic efforts in raising vital funds for Dementia UK.

She said: “I really love my grandad, and I was sad when I found out what was happening, so I wanted to help other people with the same condition as him.”

Dave Wake was diagnosed with dementia in January 2019, and Eve responded by sitting with him after school to do Sudoku puzzles, and talking to him about his day.

She decided to organise a fundraising night for charity last year, but her plans were thwarted when the coronavirus pandemic struck, and Dave, a former postal worker, had to begin shielding.

Instead, Eve decided to take part in Dementia UK’s “Running Down Dementia” challenge, setting herself a target to reach 70k run to coincide with her grandad’s 70th birthday on June 25.

Eve is used to running because she and her little brother, Ryan, eight, regularly take part in the Darlington ParkRun, with their mum, Kate, a teacher at Heighington Primary School.

She originally set a target of raising £100 but her final total was £2,047 after news of her efforts spread among family members, friends, and strangers.

“It was quite hard to run every day, but I wanted to do it for my grandad, so I just kept going,” said Eve, who was supported by Ryan on some parts of the run. “I can’t believe how much money I raised.”

Eve has now been honoured as part of the 45th anniversary of the Darlington Sports Winners Awards – held online this year because of the lockdown – after being nominated by her PE teacher at Mowden Primary School, Michael Garmston.

Brian Dobinson, one of the organisers, said: “Eve’s story was inspirational and very moving. We were delighted to present her with an award – her grandad should be very proud.”

Eve, who lives in Holmlands Road, said: “It was a really nice surprise to get the award – it’s made me even more proud. I still want to do a fundraising night when the lockdown is over.”

Her dad, Kevin, an accountant, said: “It was never about how much money she got, she just wanted to do something personal for her grandad, but she was overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone. She’s done brilliantly and we’re all really proud of her.”