An inspirational nine-year-old who has captured the hearts of people across South Yorkshire and beyond has reached the end of his fundraising mission, raising an astonishing £11,000 for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. 

Owls mad ‘Super Shay’ O’Grady completed his epic triathlon when Sheffield Wednesday met Barnsley Town earlier this month, with well-wishers cheering him on every step of the way. 

After completing a 6,000 metre swim over the course of a few months, dedicated Shay walked from Hillsborough to Barnsley’s Oakwell stadium and then cycled back on a tandem with his cousin.

Along the way the plucky youngster has featured on Look North, had a surprise BBC Radio Sheffield party in his honour at Bluebell Wood and had congratulatory messages from some of his Sheffield Wednesday heroes. 

“It was very tiring but it was worth it,” said Shay, who goes to St Thomas More Primary in Grenoside.

“I just wanted to help my cousin Evie-Mae and all the other children who go to Bluebell Wood."

“It’s such an amazing place and they do so much to help the children. Thanks to everyone for helping to keep me going.”

Shay’s cousin, Evie-Mae O’Grady Askwith, 9, from Ecclesfield, has an extremely rare chromosome deletion disorder, which means she can’t walk or talk and needs round the clock care. Evie-Mae has been visiting Bluebell Wood for a number of years for respite care and other events and activities.

Dad Jason O’Grady said: “We’re so proud of Shay for all he’s done and we’d like to thank everyone who’s supported him and helped him raise such a phenomenal amount – it wouldn’t have been possible without you.

“Evie-Mae means the world to him and they’ve been close all their lives, so to be able to do this for her has made him so happy.”

It’s not the first time Shay’s gone above and beyond for Wood – last year he raised almost £5,000 with a sponsored walk from the hospice to Hillsborough ahead of the Steel City derby. Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri was so impressed with his efforts that he matched the amount he’d raised, taking it to a grand total of £10,000.

Now the committed youngster’s got his sights firmly set on his next big challenge which he plans to do next year, with plans already underway to go even ‘bigger and better’.

Sam Wood, Head of Fundraising at Bluebell Wood, said: “We’re all incredibly proud of Shay and all he’s done for Bluebell Wood – he really is an inspiration.

“A huge thank you to Shay, his family and everyone else who’s supported him along the way. You’re making a real difference to Evie-Mae and the hundreds of other local families we support.”

Click here to find out more about how you can help fundraise for local families