A COUNCIL employee praised the community's phenomenal support for a 200km running challenge that has raised more than £2,300 for Wirral University Teaching Hospital Trust's Globe-backed COVID-19 appeal.

Chris Ricks - a staff member for 17 years in the council’s Children’s Services team - used his daily exercise allowance to raise vital funds to support the appeal, set up by the WUTH Charity in conjunction with the Globe.

The campaign has so far raised more than £40,000, thanks to support from the community.

Chris crossed the finish line, with two running friends on Thursday, greeted by family and neighbours who had all turned out to applaud him, and had set up a finish line with balloons.

One of the neighbours, who is also a DJ, set up her equipment and the run ended to coincide with the clap for keyworkers.

Chris was soaked in bubbly as he crossed the finish line.

He was also greeted by his wife, son, and friend local actor Lee Charles, owner of black dragon martial arts.

Chris told the Globe today: "The support for this challenge has been phenomenal - there has been over £2300 in sponsorship received, and the way family, friends and the local community have got behind this is amazing.

"This challenge was all about saying thank you and raising the profile of our fantastic NHS staff and keyworkers and I hope I've done them proud."

Chris was joined on the final leg of his run by two friends - Dave, a front line nhs worker.

"When Dave offered to do the last run with me, I was truly humbled - Dave has been on the front line, and it was so important!" 

The other friend was Chris, who helped film the last bit of the run live on Facebook, with more than 300 views - along the final leg the runners were greeted by beebs and waves from people along the final route.

Chris suffered a nasty twisted ankle on Tuesday and said: "Despite this injury, failure was not an option and I had to complete the challenge - this meant I had to walk 12km yesterday morning in the hope that I could finish the final 4km with the guys running - we did it."

It's not the end of Chris' fundraising for the appeal.

He has decided to keep going, and has pledged to complete another 100km ... but will leave his ankle to rest for a couple of days first.

If you would like to support Chris' efforts by making a donation, go https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chris-ricks1