Jonjo walking on in memory of his nanny and Bobby
PUBLISHED: 14:38 03 October 2012
Three years ago, little Jonjo Heuerman was left devastated by the death of his grandmother Lynda from bowel cancer.
Nobody could have predicted during that dark time that this very special boy would go on to raise more than £80,000 in the fight against the killer disease, touching hundreds of lives along the way.
He is now the driving force behind a charity walk for the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK that has snowballed to attract worldwide attention.
A West Ham United fan, the 10-year-old knew that Hammers and England legend Bobby had died from the same illness as his nanny.
He decided to walk from Wembley, where his hero captained the 1966 World Cup- winning team, to West Ham’s Upton Park ground.
Jonjo, who lives in Wilmington, set off in February 2011 with his parents and sister Megan, 15, along with Bobby’s widow Stephanie. He arrived three days later in the centre circle at Upton Park.
There, in front of 35,000 spectators, he was invited to do a lap of honour.
He says: “Everybody was clapping and cheering. It was brilliant.
“I thought it was just going to be the one walk. Obviously I was wrong.”
Word began spreading about this exceptional young fundraiser and the family had national and international press requesting interviews.
People asked if he would do the walk again and he received messages from people from as far away as Australia wanting to take part.
His parents, Donna and Gary, both 44, decided Jonjo could set up Facebook and Twitter accounts for his charity work.
The football community responded and Jonjo’s name became recognised – today he has more than 3,000 Twitter followers.
In February this year he set off again on the same route, though this time 300 people followed him.
“It was like the Pied Piper,” Donna said. “When he got to Upton Park there was a full brass band and he was swamped by people waiting for him.”
On the first walk, a few people had got in touch to ask if he would walk for their loved ones and Jonjo wore a shirt with 50 names written on it. By the second walk, he had more than 100 names.
When he reached the Bobby Moore statue outside West Ham’s stadium, Jonjo laid some flowers and called out every name written on his shirt.
The next walk is going to be “off the Richter scale”, says Donna. It will be the 20th anniversary of Bobby Moore’s death and Jonjo is thinking big.
He is hoping to organise tag teams at every one of the 92 professional football clubs in England. It will be in February next year – the same month that both Lynda and Bobby died.
The last stage will be West Ham United where Jonjo will be tagged before walking 33 miles to Wembley Stadium and then 33 miles back again to commemorate the 1966 England win and all in six days – the number of Bobby’s West Ham shirt.
Jonjo hopes to hit the £100,000 mark by 2013 and “keep on fundraising and saving lives”.
For his mother, it has all been quite surreal.
“I have moments when I completely lose it. I get a lump in my throat when he is talking about his experience. We have had grown men come and say they are inspired to help.”
But Jonjo seems unfazed by the attention. “My school friends are okay with it. Maybe they think it’s cool.”