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  • Durham OnAir


Ex Pro Footballer turned Fitness Coach, Simon Ramsden has unveiled the ultimate

fitness charity challenge to support a courageous Sunderland youngster who suffers with spina bifida.

Seven-year-old Rubie from Southwick who picked up the Child of Courage Award in

The Best of Wearside Awards caught Simon’s attention when she joined one of his SR Functional Fitness Kids’ bootcamps. Rubie has battled health problems since the day she was born, but despite all that Rubie has gone through she continues to show strength, determination, and resilience.

SR Functional Fitness will hold a 24-hour charity fitness event on Thursday 28 th

April at the Grand Hotel, Sunderland. But there’ll be no half-time for the Owner

Simon Ramsden who’ll personally complete 24 hours of back-to-back fitness classes

without sleep.

Over the 24-hour period there will be 40 spaces per class, with every penny raised

going into a pot for Rubie. The class bookings are currently live via the website: and a JustGiving page has been set up for general



Simon Ramsden, Owner at SR Functional Fitness said:

“Rubie is an absolute gem. She is a true inspiration and despite everything she has

gone through she is always smiling, and I love to see the joy that fitness brings to her

and how she pushes herself at each session. I would love it for people to get behind

the fundraising drive by taking part in either the classes, sponsorship, or donations

for raffle prizes to support the event and to make the maximum impact.”

Ciara Heffernan, Mam to Rubie said:

“Fitness is a key part of her well-being, and she has a hand trike that she loves to

ride, she plays wheelchair basketball, she’s taken part in kickboxing, a sporting event

at school and more recently has joined in with SR Functional Fitness kids classes. 

Because of her condition we have fundraised for different pieces of equipment for

Rubie. Her first baby wheelchair cost over £1,000, her second wheelchair cost

£2,800, her hand trike cost £3,200 and her most recent wheelchair cost over £4,000.

We have been so lucky that people have been so generous and helped with funding

these. Without her wheelchair, Rubie would have no independence, something that

is so important to her.”

Simon added:

“After hearing more about Rubies story it was clear that there was a lot of ongoing

pressure on the family to fundraise for key development and growth stages. Funds

raised from the event will go into a pot for Rubie whenever she next needs


Ciara said:

“After attending Simon’s fitness class with Rubie he messaged and asked could he

arrange an event to raise money for her. I’m always overwhelmed by the kindness of

people wanting to help. Although Rubie doesn’t need anything at the minute, the

funds will go into her account for anything she may need in the future.

This will take some of the pressure off having to fundraise as quickly as possible to

buy whatever it may be that she needs. We are so grateful to Simon and anyone

who takes part and helps out with the event, the equipment the money gets used for

makes a huge difference to Rubie’s life and maintaining her independence.”

The Ex Pro who played for teams including Sunderland, Notts County, Bradford City

and Motherwell, retired from football in 2016, and set up SR Functional Fitness in

May 2021 with just 7 people on the first class now the popular bootcamps can top

around 60 with hundreds taking part in classes on a weekly basis, and it’s

anticipated his new squad will be getting behind the sessions.

Simon added:

“Fitness is so important for mental well-being and a positive mindset, I aim to create

a friendly environment at all my classes, everyone is welcome no matter what level

of fitness they are at, I just want people to leave the class feeling better for the

experience, both mentally and physically.”


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