Archdeacon to run 100k next year to raise autism awareness

Archdeacon David Jenkins and his colleagues in training

The Venerable Dr David Jenkins, Archbishop of Sudbury, is set to compete in ten 10K races in 2014 to raise awareness and money for families affected by autism.

An estimated one in every hundred children in the UK, including Dr Jenkins's own son, 11-year-old Ben, has autism and asperger syndrome, both part of a range of developmental disorders known as autistic spectrum disorders (ASD).

Dr Jenkins will compete in races all over the country starting in January 2014 and including one while on holiday on the Isle of Mull during August next year.

He is hoping to raise money for Autism Suffolk, a local charity run by the National Autistic Society which supports parents and carers of children with autism.

Married to Sarah with three children, the Archdeacon said: "My lovely son Ben is autistic and a real gift from God, although an occasionally challenging one!

"My family has been very grateful for support from Autism Suffolk and I am very committed to repaying some of their kindness.

"Autism is one of those misunderstood conditions and I am very keen to raise its profile for those who have autistic children, and the joys and sorrows this brings.

Archdeacon David Jenkins and his son Ben

"If I can additionally raise thousands of pounds to help other families by taking part in racing through 2014, and running is a real love of mine, then I will get a lot of pleasure from this too."

Rachel Field, spokeswoman for Autism Suffolk, said: "David's challenge is particularly timely for us. Our main grant is being halved from April 2014, and then will decrease year on year until it finishes completely in 2017.

"We are therefore soon to be very reliant on fundraising like David's so that we can continue to provide all our services to families."

The Archdeacon will be joined on some of his runs by a team of supporters, including Paul Jones, member of staff at Great Whelnetham CE Primary School, Charlotte Hodgson, the assistant DAC Secretary, Reverend Dave Gardner, the Diocesan Director for Mission, and Timothy Rogers, an administrator and committees' clerk at the diocese.

His charity fundraising is additionally being supported by the Church of England in Suffolk, with the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese naming autism in Suffolk the cause they will help raise funds for at the diocesan offices during 2014.

The cost of the team's running attire has been paid for by property utilities firm the M Y Group.

A spokesman for The National Autistic Society said they were delighted the Archdeacon was so dedicated to their cause.

To support Dr Jenkins's fundraising efforts, visit