A KIND-HEARTED Kincardine youngster has been hailed "an inspiration" after raising thousands of pounds for charity to remember a late school teacher.

Tulliallan Primary pupil Jay Empson went on the run for 13 miles along the Fife Coastal Path, from Limekilns to his home village, for Cancer Research UK in memory of Stewart Ollis, who passed away last year.

Popular Stewart, 50, who had suffered from bowel cancer, had taught 12-year-old Jay, in P7, and his classmates in P5 when he covered for Tulliallan teacher, Leanne Bain, who herself previously had a cancer scare.

After learning of Stewart's passing, Pars season ticket holder Jay had initially wanted to donate some birthday money to the family of a teacher who referred to him as a "champ".

He then came up with the idea of doing a charity run and, alongside his uncle, Darren, in searing heat, they completed the challenge, raising more than £3,700 in the process.

Jay's efforts even led to him being serenaded to 'Scotland the Brave' on the bagpipes by local couple, Bob and Lynne Connelly, as he made his way towards the finish at his school.

Not only that, but his efforts even caught the eye of former Dunfermline player Joe Cardle who sent a special video message congratulating Jay.

The youngster said: "It was hard but that at the end helped me get through it.

"I was thankful to everyone who showed up."

Even though the heat took its toll towards the end of the route, with Jay beginning to feel unwell, proud dad John explained: "He was determined to finish and hearing folk shouting, clapping, cheering and roaring at home, and hearing Scotland the Brave on the pipes, definitely helped.

"Jay came to us; it was his idea and he told us what we wanted to do. It was a massive undertaking, but he's done it, and raise more than he thought he would. I hope that what he has raised helps someone; if it helps one person, then it will have been worth it.

"He still doesn't believe Joe messaged him; he was overwhelmed and it meant a lot.

"It's very humbling and we can't thank people enough for their support."

In his message to Jay, current Partick Thistle winger Joe said: "You're an inspiration wee man, every credit to you for doing that today, and doing it for Cancer Research – incredible.

"I'm very proud of you. I just hope you're staying safe in this situation right now, and hopefully I'll get to meet you, and you never know, it could be back at East End Park soon."

Leanne, who started teaching Jay in P4, organises a running club at the school, and had hoped due to run with Jay but for the current Coronavirus guidelines.

She commented: "I am extremely proud of Jay. He has worked immensely hard to raise money for such a fantastic cause and a dear colleague.

"I am a runner too, and I know how incredibly difficult running 13 miles is, let alone running in the heat. For a young child to run this distance is incredible; I knew he would though.

"He works so hard, especially in sport, to be the very best he can be and support others reach their goals too."

Jay's fundraising page can be accessed at https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/jay-darrens-giving-page