On the 15th of October, the BathHalf Marathon will have a poignant significance for some, as one entrant runs in memory of Charley Bates, the beloved sixteen-year-old who tragically lost his life to knife crime in Radstock exactly one year ago on Monday, 31st July.

Jacob grew up just a few doors down from Charley and the pair shared many memories together. Jacob recalled how Charley’s mum would often give him a lift to school and back, which lead to the two boys developing a close friendship in their younger years.

Having a keen interest in bikes from a young age, Jacob, who now does motocross sports, would often fix up Charley’s bikes and scooters.

Jacob described Charley as being a “very upbeat kid”. On his GoFundMe page, which he’s set up ahead of running the marathon, Jacob says: “I always saw Charley as my little brother in a way that I could help and guide or even just be up to mischief with.”

charley bates
Charley Bates sadly lost his life to knife crime on 31st July 2022. (image supplied)

Two charities will benefit from Jacob’s marathon commitment, both of which have a connection to Charley. The first is Dorset And Somerset Air Ambulance Charity which were in attendance on the day of Charley’s tragic death, and the second is Bristol Knife Bin and Bleed Campaign - a charity which works hard to have specific first aid in place in case of a stabbing. Though the charity began in Bristol, it hopes to roll out kits across the South West and would like bleed kits to be a sight as common as defibrillators in the future.

Jacob explained why he’d chosen these charities, specifically highlighting his second charity which focuses on knife crime, “I don’t want Charley’s memory to be thought of as something to do with knife crime, but I do think that it’s really important at the moment with all that is going on.”

Since Charley’s untimely passing last year, cases of knife crime, particularly involving teenagers and young people, have been on the rise in Bath and North East Somerset, which has been a cause for concern for many locals, and has been something that Jacob had noticed too.

“I’d love to be able to support a happier cause, but at the moment, I think it’s necessary to support this”, Jacob added.

The suggestion to support the anti-knife crime charity came from Charley’s mum Helen, who has been supportive of Jacob’s decision to run in memory of Charley.

“I’d always wanted to challenge myself to run the Bath Half, but I could never think of a reason to do it. I didn’t have any charities in mind before, or a particular person to run for. When this happened, I knew I had to do it in memory of my friend, and his mum Helen was over the moon to hear that”.

As someone who has always been more interested in bikes, Jacob said that he’d never been a runner, but is keen to take on the challenge in October. “I’ve been training for a few months now. When I first started, it was really difficult, but I’d already set the fundraiser up and could see some money coming in so I knew I had to push through.”

“At the end of the day, it’s for Charley’s memory, and that’s what is important. Charley was really down to earth, he would always try and help people. He didn’t have a bad bone in his body.”

If you’d like to support Jacob with his fundraising efforts or find out more, please visit here.