Torbay student running 50 miles to feed 50 people in fundraising campaign

(Last Updated On: June 5, 2020)

WHEN people she knew began to struggle for food,18-year-old Tyla Kotze knew she had to do something to help.

The resourceful South Devon College student came up with a plan to raise money for the Torbay Food Alliance by running and hiking 50 miles in four weeks.

She started two weeks ago with the intention of helping 50 people to eat for a day – three meals each at a total cost of £250.

So far, Tyla, who lives in Paignton, has covered 23 of those miles, doing something she doesn’t enjoy: “I knew I had to challenge myself and so I chose running.”

“I honestly don’t think enough people of my age have done as much as they could during this crisis, but I feel that if you can help, then why wouldn’t you?” she said.

“It has been really tough on some people, but in the main I have been lucky. I have struggled with it mentally, but at least I can see a way forward.”

When her course in Uniform Public Services was brought to a halt at the college, she went out and got a job at Morrisons in Paignton where, coincidentally, the staff had already raised thousands to provide food for the Alliance.

Come September she hopes to return to the college to complete her course before going on to train as a nurse with the Royal Navy possibly also training as an officer at Dartmouth.

With 27 miles still to run, Tyla is hoping to complete her task in the next two weeks and hopes that in the meantime her more people will donate via her fundraising page at Crowdfunder (

“This is such an important cause to me due to seeing how this virus is affecting society physically and mentally. As food is a basic human need, it is essential there is help for those who need it, whenever and wherever.”

“I just hope that it captures the imagination – 50 miles for 50 people to eat for one day – and that they will be able to help in some way, no matter how small,” she said before donning her running shoes and setting off to add more miles to her target.

A spokesperson for the Torbay Food Alliance, which represents 12 organisations across the Bay said: “It is fantastic that she wants to do this for people in her community.”

“We set up to ensure no-one went hungry during this crisis and it is with the help and enthusiasm of caring people like Tyla that we are able to continue to do so.”

“So far we have provided the equivalent of more than 75,000 meals for families and individuals. We are also aware that some people are going to continue to need help for a while yet.”

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Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!