Young England hopeful Bethany Ellis was ‘knocked out’ to receive support from world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury as she began a charity crusade for Cancer Research UK.

Bethany, who is working hard to get into the England Aspire Squad next season, decided to celebrate her 13th birthday on Saturday by launching a fundraising initiative which will see her run 100km in a week.

Today saw her take the first steps of her journey and, as she jogged along the Promenade in her home town of Morecambe, she found herself running near the boxing ace, who also lives in the area and who won the WBC world title in February when he beat American Deontay Wilder.

When Fury found out what Bethany was doing, he pledged to sponsor her £100 – £1 for every kilometre – and invited Bethany and her mum Rebecca to meet outside his home, where he also donated some hydration drinks and a goodie bag of training equipment, as the video below shows.

Bethany said: “I’d seen him running before but never spoken to him. He was asking me why I was doing it and wished me good luck. Then we took the video with him outside his house. He was really nice and it was exciting to meet a world champion.”

Bethany came up with the idea to run 100km in a week and set up a fundraising page on the Cancer Research UK website on her own initiative.

Click here to make a donation via Cancer Research UK

She said: “On my birthday I didn’t want to think about myself, I wanted to think about other people, so I decided to do 100km in a week. I know a couple of people who have cancer and it’s a really bad disease to get, so I wanted to help. It will help my fitness for table tennis as well.”

She ran 14km on the first day and added: “It was quite easy to start with but it got harder – but I had to keep going, I couldn’t give up. I haven’t gone that far before, I normally go about 5km, but I’m excited for the rest of the week.”

Bethany, who is No 2 in the national Under-13 rankings, has been training and practising during lockdown with her older brother Toby, who is in the England Aspire Squad, while younger brother Thomas also joins in with some of their work.

“We’re training every day because we’ve got our own table at home and we always go on a run or a bike ride every day. Plus we do ladders and skipping and we Facetime our coaches and do robot work. We’re trying to make it a positive time.”