Marathon Steve calls for his childhood social worker to cheer him over finish line
PUBLISHED: 10:12 25 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:19 25 April 2019
A London Marathon runner from Bexley is raising money for NSPCC wants his childhood social worker to cheer him over finish line.
And that's because of the extraordinary work they did for him to essentially get his life back on the rails to become a school deputy head.
Steve Wheatley says he owes his life to a pair of NSPCC social workers.
They helped him get his life back on track after spending much of his childhood in care, and now he wants to pay them back.
The father-of-two is the second youngest of seven and he had to quickly get used to harsh punishments from his father, who later died.
Steve ended up in care to keep him safe and then moved 14 times between various children's homes and foster families before leaving the system. During some of that time he was assigned two NSPCC social workers, Paul, and Maureen, who has since passed away.
Now Steve is called on Paul to come along to the event and perhaps cheer him over the finishing line.
Steve said: “My dad was a big drinker and a very hard man. He was raised being beaten by his father and that's the only way he knew how to discipline us. You'd never see him cry.
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“Mum worked very hard as well as looking after us. She was so caring and loving.
“I had NSPCC social workers Maureen and Paul from a young age and they were a constant support over those years. More than anything, I remember them caring. They would sit and listen to us, take us out for lunch and give up their time.
“They would talk to us and explain what was happening and why. They would ask us about the future and what we wanted to be. They'd make us make up with each other if we'd fallen out. But above everything they said and did, I just remember them caring. I didn't have that relationship with any other social worker.
“So that's why I'm running the London Marathon for the NSPCC – to say thank you for the support they gave me over the years and to help raise funds for other children today. I'm hoping we can find my social workers and have them there on the finish line.”
Steve is hoping Paul reads about his challenge and can be there on the day.
He added: “It would be wonderful to be able to see him there at the finish.”
Despite his childhood, Steve has always been determined not to let anything hold him back.
He said: “You are stigmatised greatly as a child in care – people think you are the naughty child. That stigma can last a lifetime. Children in care are six times more likely to be convicted of crime and only six per cent of care leavers go on to study at university.
“I buck that trend and am now a deputy head in secondary school, helping change children's lives. It's thanks to my NSPCC social workers, who rescued me and provided me with consistency and support when my world was falling apart, that I have got to where I am today. I'd love to be able to thank them.”
To help Steve visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SteveWheatley