10k for £10k: Our founder is on a mission to give back. Here is his story...

Dr John Buttrick MBE founded Hull Children's University in 1996 when he was Deputy Head at Francis Askew School. John realised that nurturing children's individual talents and interests really had an impact on their self esteem and in turn, their ambitions for the future. So he left teaching and created Hull Children's University.

In 2015, John unfortunately had to retire due to illness and leaving the charity in such sudden circumstances broke his heart.

6 years on and John is  back to fitness and raring to go! Now he wants to say thank you to everyone who supported Hull Children's University over the years by raising money with a 10K run. Here is John's story:

Hi Everyone

It’s John Buttrick here, probably you don’t remember me but I founded Kingston upon Hull Children’s University way back in the mid nineties.

Sadly I had to retire in 2015 due to ill health but so delighted it continues to flourish.

My illness was diagnosed as vasculitis , inflammation of the blood vessels leading to the brain. It wasn’t until around four years later that I fully recovered. Almost two of those years were spent on my sofa with various other ailments setting in.

I became severely depressed and my mental health was in tatters. Lost the sense of balance so couldn’t walk properly, my speech became slurred and I was devoid of energy and put on two stone in weight. I was a mess with self esteem and confidence rock bottom. I didn’t even have the bottle to go outside!

My recovery was gradual due to several experiences and support none more so than my wife Lesley and daughter Nikki who became my rocks.

Other close friends and colleagues gave their support too and the acquisition of a pet dog, Poppy who persuaded me to take her for walks played a significant role in my rehabilitation and mindset change.

Then one day I received a letter from Buckingham Palace to inform me that the Queen wished to award me an MBE in her Birthday Honours list for my services to the Children of Hull.

I can still feel the shivers sprinting up my spine, I felt humbled yet elated. It certainly gave me an emotional and psychological lift and it became a pivotal moment in my recovery.

With my brain beginning to function ,my anxiety and depression starting to lift, I managed to escape my sofa and began walking again but with an unstable balance. I was still not fully recovered when I received my MBE from Prince William.

Perhaps the most powerful force in my progress was when my daughter Nikki persuaded me to return to the gym!

I was extremely anxious as I stepped through the doors as I was out of condition and my inside was pumped with medication . However since that day I’ve managed to turn my life around by working out and running almost every day.I had a period of uninterrupted gym activity but then Covid came along !

I’d been isolated through my illness for almost four years and now shielding at home due to my Extremely Clinically Vulnerable status. My Mycophenalate medication reduced my immune system to a very low level of resistance and if being hit by the virus my only survival was to keep myself fit, healthy and strong.

In order to solve the problem of not being able to attend the gym I created a makeshift one in my garage! Never missed a daily session in my quest to become super fit ! Cross Training, cycling, weight lifting, mat exercising and running when Boris said I could take some outdoor activity!

Luckily I’ve kept my fitness training as a priority in my life and it’s become a daily activity.

Confidence and self esteem are back in tact and I’m looking forward to coming out of lockdown and enjoying the life I had prior to 2014 again.

I had to retire from my post as Director of Hull Children’s University so didn’t have the opportunity to say goodbye and thank all the hundreds of children and grown ups for their support of the innovative educational venture.

So now it’s payback time!

From hardly being able to walk to running and training daily, I’m going to run this years Hull 10k and hopefully gain sponsorship in order to support HEY CU!

I will also donate to Alzheimer’s Research as I’ve watched my mum and many others in care homes deteriorate and lose their identity.

I would be grateful for any sponsorship contributions towards young people at the start of their lives and those dementia sufferers towards the end of theirs .

Thank you

Dr John Buttrick MBE

If you would like to support John's efforts, you can make a donation here: Virgin Money Giving | My 10K challenge