THE terrific effort showed by one junior team has prompted plenty of praise – including from Jose Mourinho.

Didcot Town Whites under sevens surpassed all expectations with a physical challenge over the past fortnight.

Initially set up by co-managers Adam Sellwood and Daz King to keep the 11-strong squad active, it rapidly took off.

The aim was to raise £300 for Oxfordshire-based mental health charity Restore by cycling, running and walking 300 kilometres in 14 days.

Instead, they more than quadrupled both targets.

Sellwood said: “It quickly changed and they did nearly 1,300 kilometres in the end.

“They were going out and riding 30km at a time on the hottest days of the year.

“Me and Daz were absolutely gobsmacked.

“Some families were going out riding in the morning and then running when it got cooler in the evening.”

Like many squads who have taken on similar challenges during the corornavirus lockdown, Didcot found the positive benefits extended beyond the simple exercise.

“The boys have achieved so much at such a young age,” Sellwood said.

“It’s created a feelgood factor around the club and has got parents talking about mental health.

“They’ve inspired me to get out on the bike.

“It’s been quite an emotional two weeks to see what they’ve done.

“It’s given families a chance to go out and bond. It’s brought us all closer together.”

As a way to keep motivation levels high, Sellwood wrote to all the clubs supported by the group, made up of six and seven year olds, to tell them about the challenge.

And he was pleasantly surprised to get some replies.

“We had some amazing responses,” Sellwood said.

“We had a personalised message from Spurs signed by Jose Mourinho saying well done.

“Liverpool sent personalised posters and Everton are getting something together.

“I don’t think the boys have an understanding of what they’ve achieved.”

One person who does have a big appreciation of their efforts is Lesley Dewhurst, chief executive at Restore.

Like all charities, coping with the loss of fundraising events in lockdown has been difficult, making donations like this even more important.

Dewhurst said: “We’re absolutely thrilled they thought about mental health in this time and have given their time and enthusiasm to raise money for us.

“It’s just wonderful young people can get so involved in something to do with mental health.

“We have lost money in a variety of ways during the lockdown, so to have this coming in is very precious to us.”

For anyone interested in donating, the fundraising page can be accessed via