Special milestone for Jean, the Bramley parkrun queen

Achievement; Bramley parkrun queen Jean Hollings

By Vickie Jamieson

Last Saturday Bramley parkrun witnessed something pretty special – the celebration of a 500th volunteer milestone.

Jean Hollings, who is the current event director for Bramley parkrun, has now volunteered at parkrun on 500 separate occasions, which is quite impressive when you think that parkrun is a weekly activity. 

In total Jean has volunteered at Bramley parkrun 325 times, Bramley junior parkrun 157 and volunteered at various other parkrun locations across the UK and Ireland including Temple Newsam, Catterick, Fulham Palace, Vogrie in Scotland and Queens in Ireland. 

Jean has been managing parkrun at Bramley almost seven years, and with the exception of shutting down for Covid-19 and closure while the park facilities were renovated Jean has lead the Bramley parkrun team since 2017. 

In that time there have been some memorable experiences such as hosting ‘Cowfest’. Due to another Leeds parkrun having to cancel Bramley had two weeks’ notice for Cowfest North 2022 – May. (This is where many parkrun tourists visit a specific venue.) It was a tight deadline but the Bramley team rose to the challenge and loved having the tourists and a life size yellow cow.

And there was St Gemma’s Santa dash December 2023 which saw a huge crowd of Santas (volunteers and participants dress in Santa suits) running around the park – whilst having fun and raising money. 

But that’s not it. Jean is involved in a number of other local groups and causes such as Bramley Elderly Action and BrAmazon deliveries (she’s also. community reporter for WLD). And she has been privileged to receive a few awards, including the WLD Good Egg winner for January 2018, Parkrun UK volunteer of the Month June 2018 and Morrisons (Horsforth) nominated Jean for being an inspirational woman at Bramley parkrun and Bramley Junior parkrun March 2022.

Jean makes sure that she also gets involves in parkrun as a participant having completed 53 parkruns at 21 different locations; she really is the Queen of Parkrun. 

Parkrun has made a big difference to Jean’s life and she says that Saturday mornings are not the same when she’s not at Bramley.

She said: “The runners and volunteers make such a difference and make the whole experience so enjoyable. Seeing people arrive quiet and reserved and in a few weeks we help them celebrate their achievements as one of our own. I love to hear stories of how parkrun has changed their lives, giving them confidence to try different things or supporting them through difficult times.”

In fact there’s a saying at Bramley parkrun – that ‘Bramley is family’ and Jean says that is often echoed by visitors who regularly mention how friendly Bramley parkrun is.

Jean adds that she feels lucky that Bramley has such a dedicated group of regular volunteers who make up the parkrun team: “The parkrun team (volunteers and runners) are like an extended family, if truth be told I see them more than my own family.”

Thank you Queen Jean – from all your loyal parkrun subjects – long may she reign!

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