A determined fundraiser is taking on a marathon challenge in aid of Prior’s Court, inspired by her friends’ experience of complex autism.

Jools Montague is running the Virtual London Marathon on Sunday, 3 October, fundraising for Prior’s Court after being inspired by her friends Matt and Suzanne (Zan) Robinson.

Matt and Suzanne’s son Zac has autism, and due to the complexity of his condition, requires high-level specialist care. Zac, pictured at the bottom of the page with Matt, has been a residential student at Prior’s Court School since 2019

Jools, pictured left, has known Matt for six years and recently invited him on to her podcast to speak about his family’s experience of complex autism and their journey to Zac coming to Prior’s Court. On the podcast, Jools revealed to Matt that due to the power of his story, she would be running the Virtual London Marathon for Prior’s Court.

Jools, who is co-director of a NLP company, said:

After hearing about how much of a positive difference Prior’s Court has made to Zac’s life, it was a simple decision to choose who to fundraise for.

What will drive me on the day is the thought of helping Prior’s Court’s work, and knowing how much this means to Matt and Zan.

I am hoping that Matt will actually run the final few miles with me which will be awesome. Matt, Zan and their girls Georgia and Rosie will be cheering me on, as will my own children and partner.

Jools, who has previously run five half-marathons and the Edinburgh Marathon, added: “I’m not a natural runner by any means and find these events very challenging.

“I am training with a rather dodgy knee and a number of niggles which have crept in over the years. I have also got slower as the years have gone on - most people aim to beat their last time, I aim to finish in one piece these days!

“I want to get as many people involved to keep me going as it will be a very different experience doing a marathon in this way.”

Karen White, Head of Fundraising at Prior’s Court, said:

We are immensely grateful to everyone who fundraises for us and so our thanks go to Jools for her generosity in choosing us.

As a charity, funds raised for us help us to fund transformational projects, pay for specialist equipment and activities and help ensure we can make a real difference to the lives of our young people and their families. 

We wish Jools the best of luck for Sunday, 3 October – the whole Prior’s Court family will be cheering her on!

To donate, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/julia-montague