A Sheffield YMCA worker is aiming to raise £40,000 for human trafficking victims before his 40th birthday by running four half marathons in a month. 

The Snowdrop Project is a Sheffield-based charity which provides long-term support to survivors of modern slavery and exploitation.

Jonathan Buckley, 39, decided to fundraise for the organisation after he volunteered to drive trafficking victims to safe houses for the Salvation Army

He said: “For us, these weren’t just people you saw on the news in boats crossing the channel, or on trucks. They were real people with real stories and real lives too. 

“You always think, what happens to them next? Do they just get lost in the system, do they go back to their home countries, what happens to them?”

He discovered the Snowdrop Project through friends who volunteered there, and decided to raise money for long-term support of human trafficking victims.

Jonathan speaks about marking his 40th birthday with four half marathons

So far, including gift aid, Jonathan has raised £2,000 of his £40,000 target. He admits raising £4,000 is more realistic than £40,000, but he is determined to raise as much money as possible. 

He said: “Encouraging people to part with their cash has always been a gift I have had.”

Jonathan aims to completes the Sheffield Half Marathon, which took place on April 7, Rugeley Half Marathon, which took place yesterday, and the upcoming Roche Abbey Half Marathon and East Yorkshire (Hull) Half Marathon

He said: “Carrying the Olympic torch last Sunday was hard. I’ve not carried it since I carried it in 2012, and that was only 300 metres, rather than 13 miles. My arm muscles hurt quite a bit on Sunday night. 

“The torch has been behind the TV for the last ten years, so it was good to get it out again!”

Image: Jonathan was joined by other Snowdrop Project volunteers at the Sheffield Half Marathon. Image credit: The Snowdrop Project

Jonathan said doing back-to-back races is a challenge, but he has friends and family members joining him on the way to cheer him on. 

“Having planned this for the past five or six years, it’s good to actually do it. Come May, I think I will be at a loose end and wondering what is next!”

The Snowdrop Project said: “As a small charity, we rely on the generosity of supporters like Jonathan to fund the work we do.

“We’re lucky to have an incredible community of people who fundraise and donate to enable survivors to rebuild their lives after exploitation.”

You can donate to Jonathan Buckley’s Just Giving fundraiser here, or donate directly to the Snowdrop Project by visiting their website.