The Running Stormtrooper raising thousands for children across the region

Jez from Oxfordshire has literally gone the extra mile to raise a huge amount of money for a charity for children who are seriously ill.  Credit: ITV News Meridian

Three months ago, we began our search for the ITV Meridian Fundraiser of the Year, as part of the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, and while there can't be an awards ceremony this year, we couldn't let the year pass without celebrating those local heroes.

All this week, we'll tell you about our region's four finalists and on Friday, we'll be crowning one of them as the Meridian winner.

Jez Allinson

Jez from Oxfordshire has literally gone the extra mile to raise a huge amount of money for a charity for children who are seriously ill. 

  • Report by ITV News Meridian's Penny Silvester:

Squadron Leader Jez Allinson is a Weapons Systems Officer at RAF Benson, but for the past four years, alongside his full-time military career,  he's had an alter ego.

He is the Running Stormtrooper. To date he's raised more than £50,000 to help sick children and their families.

He's talking about the Make A Wish and Spread a Smile Charities. They help bring joy and laughter into the lives of critically ill children and their families by paying for things like an amazing holiday,  a bedroom makeover or even the chance to meet an astronaut.  Those moments can transform lives.

Jez raises money for Make A Wish and Spread a Smile Charities Credit: Jez Allinson

He has been an incredible ambassador and friend of Make A Wish and I've always been inspired by the way he continues to strive and inspire so many other people

Maya Thomas- Make A Wish UK

The rigid plastic costume is not designed for long-distance running. So when the cuts and bruises and chafing become unbearable, he draws on the RAF's equipment expertise with crew mates helping to keep his outfit intact.

Jez draws on the RAF's equipment expertise with crew mates helping to keep his outfit intact. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Even in the extreme heat of deployment to Afghanistan, this stormtrooper did not stop running.

  • Cpl Tim Mahoney- Survival Equipment Technician

  • Sqdn Ld John Langland- RAF Benson

His latest feat of endurance was an 80 km run to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The money he raised will mean another wish will be granted.

16-year-old Phoebe Jordan, who's being treated for leukemia, is looking forward to a fun family day out to a wildlife park.

  • Phoebe Jordan


When it's just a really really tough run, then you just have to think to yourself, well you're not in hospital. All of my fundraising this year has been turned on it's head because all of the big events have been cancelled, so these charities need the money more than ever.

Jez Allinson

This fundraising Stormtrooper has captured the public imagination but for Jez Allinson, it doesn't matter which uniform he's wearing. His focus will always on the children for whom happy memories are being made.