Finsbury Park dad representing Great Britain in 150-mile race to raise funds for school’s science laboratory

Pupils from Gillespie Primary School with Darren Strachan ahead of his 150-mile marathon run.

Pupils from Gillespie Primary School with Darren Strachan ahead of his 150-mile marathon run. - Credit: Archant

A Finsbury Park dad is going the distance to safeguard the future of an independently funded primary school science laboratory.

Since 2014, students at Gillespie Primary School have been taking advantage of a science resource which is not afforded to many pupils their age, namely Lab_13 – a laboratory that has been partly funded by the efforts of parents.

One such parent is ultra-keen runner Darren Strachan, who has two boys at the school.

The 41-year-old will not merely be doing a fun run, but representing Great Britain in a gruelling 150-mile run from Athens to Sparta, with all cash drummed up going back into the science laboratory.

The fundraising efforts of people like Darren are vital in paying for the yearly £20,000 costs to keep the laboratory going, which includes paying for the salary of the scientist in residence.

Headteacher Mark Owen said: “The children benefit hugely from our science initiative, which allows them to take a very active role in exploring science in our school.

“They all absolutely love it. Most importantly many of our students now have aspirations to be a scientist at such a young age.

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“There is evidence nationally that there is a shortage of scientists in this country.

“So it’s vital that we are inspiring young children to ask questions with regard to science.

“Our students have been allowed to take ownership over their learning, by asking questions to our scientist in residence, which they can then go through together as a class. It is a hugely interactive learning experience.

“We are all very excited about this year’s fundraising efforts to safeguard Lab_13’s future.”

Ahead of Darren’s race, which starts tomorrow (Fri), pupils of all ages at the school have been running laps around the school playground and nearby Clissold Park to show their support for his challenge.

Darren said: “I tried to tell the kids to pace themselves, but they all sprinted off at the start.

“It’s a daunting challenge, but hopefully I can get to the finish line and raise money for a laboratory which everyone loves at the school.”

To donate to Darren’s cause search for “GillespieJamboree2016” at

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